Training on Christmas Day has 
to be done, says Evans

HO HO HO: Rotherham manager Steve Evans.
HO HO HO: Rotherham manager Steve Evans.
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Steve Evans shunned the festive mood by telling his Rotherham United players by text message that they must train on Christmas Day.

The Millers squad were told to report for festive training ahead of their Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day when Evans sent them a text message on Sunday.

That came just 24 hours after Rotherham had ended a nine-match winless run with a 2-1 victory at Wigan in the Championship.

“I’ve done the normal manly thing and texted it (the Christmas schedule) to them yesterday,” said Evans.

“I didn’t get any responses saying ‘thank you’. I was brave and told them via text.

“They’ve known for a few weeks now that we’d work over Christmas.

“Any supporters that are around our training ground are most welcome on Christmas morning to get some fresh air and see the lads out there.

“We have to prepare for Huddersfield. They are a team, since their new manager has gone in, that have seen an upturn in fortunes. We’ll not have a lot of time off, but you get out what you put in.”

Evans is a veteran of many Christmas fixtures, and accepts there is no guaranteed winning formula when it comes to setting training routines.

“You have to get the balance right between working them and making sure they’re fresh and they’re ready,” he said.

“I think there’s no given right to train on Christmas Day. Probably half the clubs will and half the clubs won’t.

“The only thing you have to do as a manager or a coach is to be able to go to bed at night and say, if we’ve not won the game, ‘I’ve done all I can to affect us winning’.

“That means we train on Christmas Day.”

Before the Wigan win, the Millers had drawn three consecutive games – against Blackpool, Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest – when their performances probably deserved more.

Had they turned those three draws into wins, 19th-placed Rotherham would have rocketed towards the top 10 in the Championship.

“All I know is that we needed a little bit of luck; we are a little bit frustrated but we are looking up, that’s for sure,” said Evans.