Cup to act as barometer for Millers’ ambitions

There will not be many managers in the opening two rounds of the FA Cup with as enviable a record as Steve Evans.

In charge of Crawley for the past two campaigns, Evans steered the ambitious Surrey club to the fifth round on successive occasions.

They were rewarded with the dream ticket of a tie at Old Trafford where they gave Manchester United an almighty scare, and also ran Stoke City close on their home ground. Evans has done nothing to suggest in his time at Rotherham United that his passion for the Cup has diminished at all, with the League Two Millers claiming the scalp of League One Stevenage in the last round.

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Another team chasing promotion from the third tier, Notts County, arrive at the New York Stadium today with a splendid 20-game unbeaten run to their name.

Evans is wary of the threat they pose but still basks in the glow of fond FA Cup memories.

“The last two years have been incredible; we should have won at Old Trafford and should have beaten Stoke at home,” said Evans.

“Now I’m here at a club that befits those days but we’ve got to earn that right.

“It’s very hard getting that far. I look at the Cup runs we had at Crawley; we beat Danny Wilson’s Sheffield United in the 120th minute of extra-time. We scored in the 93rd minute to beat Derby.

“Those are the games that could have gone either way, so you need to perform, but you also need that little bit of luck.

“We need three factors (today): we need a top-class performance, we need the supporters to win the battle off the pitch because there’s not many people who would come here and say that they won in terms of atmosphere.

“And we need that little bit of Lady Luck that everyone needs in the Cup.”

Having already beaten Stevenage at the New York Stadium, another promotion-chasing side from a higher level should theoretically not strike much fear into the Millers. Although he is cautious of the threats they pose, particularly now they have signed his countryman Chris Iwelumo, Evans sees the game as a barometer for his squad.

“It’s a great measurement for us because we’d like to be in League One next year. We want to be taking on these teams and showing we can compete,” he said.

“We aspire to be a League One side and if you aspire to that you have to be capable of playing there.

“That’s the message to the players. You may have played in League One but are you capable of playing in a team that can mount a promotion challenge?

“Any team can take one scalp; to take two scalps you need to be a good team, so this a good opportunity for us.”