THE arrival of Bournemouth for the second time in a fortnight may send a shudder through Rotherham United fans today, but the street-fighter in Steve Evans is ready to confront the challenge head-on.
The scars from January 3 may still be fresh, the Millers hammered 5-1 by a second-string Cherries side in a one-sided FA Cup tie, but Evans is confident the hosts will prove a different proposition this afternoon.
It is not just Eddie Howe’s side whose personnel will be vastly different with a number of incomers expected to be handed home debuts today, including Derby striker Conor Sammon.
Evans, reflecting on the Cup defeat, said: “It shocked me in that my teams don’t normally get beaten like that. But we have had our days.
“It still hurts and it will for a long time as it is not what our team is about. But it will be different game on Saturday, with different personnel.
“Even though they made eight or nine changes, seven or eight of them would get in most teams outside of the top three of the Championship. They are a fantastic squad and team.”
With 30 goals, Bournemouth are the division’s top scorers on the road, having hit eight goals at Birmingham and six at Blackpool, alongside five in the cup at the New York Stadium.
Evans is also conscious that the main business is league matters, with the Millers not needing to be told twice about the ‘non-negotiable’ need to scrap for every point between now and early May.
He added: “Our bread-and-butter is at stake and we need to fight as hard as we can to protect that.”
Rotherham yesterday signed Zeki Fryers, a 22-year-old defender, on loan from Crystal Palace while sending club-record signing Jonson Clarke-Harris to MK Dons on a one-month deal.