Steve Evans called on Leeds United and Rotherham United to “let the football speak” after the draw for round three of the FA Cup threw up another reunion with Neil Redfearn.
Evans and Redfearn will go head-to-head for the second time in a matter of weeks next month following last night’s third-round pairings which pitted both coaches against their former clubs.
Redfearn will bring Rotherham to Elland Road over the second weekend of January, less than two months after his side inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Evans’ Leeds in West Yorkshire.
A second-half header from Joe Newell settled a Championship clash which was marred by red cards shown to Leeds’ Gaetano Berardi and Rotherham’s Leon Best and a bizarre post-game incident in which Redfearn accused United of refusing his request for a car parking pass.
Redfearn, who managed United’s first team last season but subsequently fell out with owner Massimo Cellino and resigned from his job as academy boss in July, criticised what he called “very childish” behaviour and revealed that Rotherham coach Paul Warne had sneaked his car into the ground.
United defended themselves by insisting Rotherham had been given the standard six passes offered to visiting clubs at Elland Road.
The clash was Evans’ first meeting with Rotherham since he ended three-and-a-half years in charge of the club in
September. The Scot took over as United head coach on October 19 following the sacking Uwe Rosler - the man who replaced Redfearn as Leeds boss in July.
Evans told the YEP: “The way the FA Cup works, this one was probably in the stars. It’s got a habit of throwing up games like this.
“There’s significance in the tie, clearly there is, but this time I’d hope the focus on things away from the pitch will subside. Neil’s been back to his old club, I’ve been up against my old club, a lot’s been said and written and maybe this time we can let the football speak.
“I don’t want the show to be about me and I hope Neil doesn’t want it to be about him, or car parking or about what’s gone on with the owner here. I felt that some of the drama afterwards was allowed to get a bit out of control.
“The bottom line is that they beat us in that game but in the cold analysis it was clear that we created five or six clear chances. They created one and scored so we need to put that right. I absolutely want us in the fourth round.”
Leeds have progressed from round three only once in the past five years. Under Redfearn, the club were beaten away at Sunderland last season, 12 months on from an unflattering defeat to Rochdale. The club last reached round four in 2013 following a replay at Birmingham City.