Millers boss all fired up for PNE showdown

Steve Evans always cuts a lively figure in the Rotherham dugout
Steve Evans always cuts a lively figure in the Rotherham dugout
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An interesting sub plot to Preston North End’s play-off clash with Rotherham tonight will be the actions of Millers boss Steve Evans on the touchline.

The Scotsman is not one to keep his own counsel during games – he can be a bag of energy and anger within the confines – and sometimes outside – the technical area.

It is interesting that the two dugouts at the plush New York Stadium are positioned some distance apart, a large no-man’s land in between for the fourth official to patrol.

Further along the line this evening will be Simon Grayson, a calmer figure in the extreme.

The PNE manager insists that he does not have a problem with Evans’ style and the pair do actually get on pretty well.

Grayson said: “I thought that Saturday’s game was quite quiet compared to the league fixture in February.

“Everyone is passionate about their own team and people conduct themselves in different ways.

“Steve came in for a drink with me after the first leg and we chatted about things.

“I get on well with him and he is just like we all are, in that we are passionate and contest every decision.

“But I do believe that he is going to have to calm down because he will have a heart attack if he’s not careful!”

Grayson feels the same sort of passion on the touchline as Evans – it is just that he chooses to express himself in a different manner.

“First and foremost, you have to focus on your own team,” said the PNE boss.

“I try to be the same whether we are winning, drawing or losing a game.

“I’m quite relaxed on the touchline although I’m passionate about this job.

“I enjoy being out there from when the first whistle goes, trying to get the right result.

“The play-offs are a pressure situation but it is a far better pressure than being at the other end of the table and needing points to stay up.”

Evans was quick to make public Rotherham’s injury list following the first leg at Deepdale. Many PNE fans saw that as Evans attempting to play mind games and Grayson has allowed himself to be dragged into that.

“I’m sure that Steve does have a few injuries but I’m also sure that one or two of them will be fit,” said Grayson.

“I’m not getting sucked into that. As a player or manager I have never played mind games with anyone, whether that is Steve now or anyone in the future.

“Whatever team Steve puts out, he has some good players as they proved on Saturday night in the first leg.

“Rotherham are a threat. They gave us a tough first half at our place when they put us under a lot of pressure.

“We didn’t impose our game well enough on them. In the second half, when we got going a little bit, we showed what we are capable of.”

Evans’ main injury worries revolve around Kieran Agard and Lee Frecklington.

Top scorer Agard missed the first leg with a slight hamstring strain, and Frecklington got a knock colliding with Declan Rudd.