LIFE may be pretty good for Rotherham United, at the minute, but Steve Evans is not getting overly complacent.
The Millers head into today’s clash with visiting Notts County with plenty to crow about, with Lee Frecklington’s late strike in Tuesday’s thrilling 3-3 draw at fellow high-fliers Preston extending their unbeaten League One run to eight matches.
It cemented fifth spot in the table for Evans’ side, who are 11 points clear of seventh-placed Walsall and in with a sniff of automatic promotion for the second successive season if their magic run in 2014 continues.
But Evans warned: “You look at Leyton Orient when in two weeks they lost five in a row; that can happen.
“If you isolate Walsall, I saw them recently draw at Peterborough and they were by far the better side and should have won on the day and I think everyone was surprised when they lost at home last Saturday.
“But we can’t look at results elsewhere and only focus on ourselves and get that gap between us and the seventh-placed side to 16 or 17 points. If we get that gap to that, then perhaps we can have a real focus on the top two.”
Meanwhile, Evans is challenging talented Northern Ireland international midfielder Michael O’Connor to hit the heights of autumn to rubber-stamp his quest for a new deal.
The former Scunthorpe man is out of contract in the summer and has endured an up-and-down start to the new year with one or two niggles not helping his cause.
Evans said: “In the autumn, he was probably the best midfielder in the league at that time and deserving of international recognition. But he got his injury and others got in.
“This is now a team who have got 20 out of 24 points and when are you going to make a change to that team, it has to be well thought-out.
“Michael has given himself every chance. He came in and had a little chat (recently), but as Michael knows, I explained I couldn’t go to the board and ask for a new contract for someone not in the team and who is well paid at Rotherham.
“Whether you are well paid or not, you have to be in the team to get something new.”