Steve Evans: If I got the Bradford City job, they would make the play-offs

STEVE EVANS insists he would have full confidence in his own ability to reach this season's League Two play-offs with Bradford City - if the club got in touch and a deal could be reached for him to take charge.
Steve Evans.Steve Evans.
Steve Evans.

The former Leeds United and Rotherham United manager has been out of football since leaving Gillingham last month and says he has already 'turned down' two jobs in League Two following his departure from the Kent club.

Evans, currently favourite for the vacant position at City, is waiting for the right opportunity to come along and admits he would be very interested in the City position if the hierarchy at the Utilita Energy Stadium got in touch and an agreement could be brokered.

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Evans has successful experience in the fourth tier in Yorkshire and orchestrated back-to-back promotions from League Two to the Championship with the Millers in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and is adamant that Bradford belong in the second tier.

Mark Trueman has been placed in caretaker charge and will lead the side at Oldham Athletic on Saturday. As it stands, City - with 15 games left in their regular season - are eight points behind the side occupying the play-off spot in Newport County.

The Scot, 59, told The Yorkshire Post: "They can either make a change and bring someone in or go with Mark (Trueman - caretaker manager) until the end of the season and have a go for the play-offs or go down the longer-term route.

"It's the middle of February and it is my view in football that if you are Bradford City, it is a long time until May not to be fighting for the play-offs.

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"The owner has put fortunes into the football club. Ryan (Sparks - CEO) is desperate (for success) and I know having spoken to Derek (Adams) in the past when I congratulated him on getting the Bradford job that I know the club they have behind the scenes with Ryan in is really ambitious.

"When I was manager at Leeds, I used to go and watch Bradford when I could and I got a bit of stick as a Leeds manager. But it was like sitting at a Championship game at Valley Parade. It is a massive opportunity for someone to make an immediate impact and put them in the play-offs.

"But the process will be determined and set by Stefan (Rupp) and Ryan.

"I have had no direct contact with Bradford and I have only read the words that have come out from Ryan that Mark will take the team at Oldham on Saturday and they will go through a process.

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"Nothing changes from my point of view. Bradford is a huge club for the level they play at. It should be a Championship club pushing for the Premier League. I don't think anyone with any knowledge of football disagrees with that."

On waiting for the right opportunity before returning to football, Evans continued: "Since I left Gillingham barely a month ago, I have turned down two jobs in League Two.

"I had good chats with both clubs, but they never woke me up next morning thinking: 'Wow, what a project this is..' The last time I went into League Two was with Rotherham and I remember meeting Tony and Richard Stewart and the board. I went up the next morning so excited. I never got that feeling (with the two clubs I spoke to).

"I have been very complimentary about the club from my time at Rotherham. If I am of interest to Bradford City, I will see if they pick up the phone.

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"If it was right for me, there would be no conversation. If Bradford came and it sounded right - and both of us were right - they'd be in the play-offs at the end of the season.

"The squad is outstanding for League Two. I watched Bradford three times earlier in the season and I looked at the team sheet the day after and I remember speaking to my old boss Darragh MacAnthony and he was saying the same thing - underachieving."

Evans has had some famous moments against City - mostly rewarding ones from his time with Rotherham - and an infamous one when he was in charge at Crawley.

An ill-tempered match between City and Crawley in West Yorkshire in March 2012 ended amid farcical scenes with five players shown red cards after the match for coming to blows in the closing minutes of normal time.

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Evans later found himself in hot water after being accused of exposing himself to a female member of staff from City.

He said: "One game with Crawley was a huge game for both clubs and players getting involved and all sorts. It was one of them...It was over a decade ago.

"From my point of view - and I have never hidden it - the best Bradford teams were when Phil (Parkinson) and Steve Parkin were there and it was a battle on and off the pitch any time you went against them.

"It still was when Phil and Steve went to Sunderland. I am good friends with Phil now and afterwards, you are always finding ourselves having a beer and a chuckle when things got back to normal."

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Promising he would also bring some fervour and passion to the position, if he came to Bradford and would immerse himself with everything involved in the city, he continued: "When I met Tony Stewart, he said: 'I want drive, determination and a warrior as I am fed up watching my previous managers with their arms folded'.

"I want managers appealing for things and winning the battle. You have to work the city and if I ended up as the Bradford manager, I'll do what I did at Leeds and Rotherham, I will live in the city. I will live in Bradford.

"I remember Massimo (Cellino) at Leeds saying: 'You can stay (and live) in Rotherham'. And I said: 'No, I am coming to Leeds and I want to live and breathe this. I want the good days and bad days.' It makes you so hungry for success.

"Valley Parade is so intimidating and I do think back and think when we were the best times I have seen at Bradford City and it was under Phil and Steve. Phil said to me six months to a year ago: 'Steve, it's not for me to go back to Bradford, but you would have liked that club.' "

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