Rotherham fan Matt Barlow's thoughts
This week I thank a work collegue who is based in Oxford but follows his home town club the Millers
1 The larger than life Steve Evans was appointed manager how has he settled in to his new task?
He`s settled in well and had a busy summer bringing in 11 new players after releasing a similar number from last season`s squad. The fans seem to be warming to him fast after the initial shock/disappointment of some at the appointment of a manager with such a colourful past.
The increased interaction and keenness to keep the fans informed has gone down well and his touchline antics, particularly his keepy uppy skills, have been keeping us entertained, so it`s a shame he`s in the middle of a six game stadium ban for an altercation at the Bradford v Crawley match last season.
2 You`re playing back in Rotherham in a brand new stadium are you and the fans impressed?
Beyond our wildest dreams! I don`t think you`ll find a single Rotherham fan who isn`t delighted with the New York Stadium and I`m still finding it hard to believe it`s actually ours. The town is buzzing again on a match day and the whole experience is a world away from the last four years at Don Valley.
If you have time, take a walk around the stadium before you go in and you won`t fail to be impressed. Be prepared for the noise though when you get inside!
As with all new stadiums there have been a few teething problems but these are gradually being sorted out.
3 It`s rumoured you have been given a budget to get you promoted, What are your expectations this season?
So far the budget has been spent on wages and we haven`t spent a penny on transfer fees despite Steve Evans stating over the summer that we were about to smash our record transfer fee. With the calibre off players we`ve signed, all be it free transfers, the expectation has to be promotion this season.
4 Are you happy with the new players?
Happy with the players signed so far, particularly Arnason, Noble and O'Connor, but we could still do with a left full back (although it looks like we`ll signed one, Bob Harris, on loan from Blackpool in time for the game).
5 How has the season gone so far?
The season so far has been up and down already. We`ve had some really good results at NYS beating Burton 3-0 and Bradford 4-0, but we`re still waiting for our first win away from home and had a disappointing 0-0 draw at Barnet last weekend. It`s still early days though for a new team and with the chances we are creating things can only improve.
6 Who do you expect to be the biggest threat to Oxford on Saturday?
We`re spoilt for choice in midfield and whoever plays is capable of causing problems for any team in League two. Noble and Arnason are both expected to be back after missing the last few games and Pringle, O`Conner and Evans have all been on the scoresheet this season. The strikers are not fully firing yet but Odejayi and Nardiello have looked good at times.
7 Do you know much about the Oxford team?
James Constable always seems to play well against us and Peter Leven in midfield bossed our game at the Kassam last season. You also signed our former player, the ever reliable Michael Raynes in the summer, good luck with that one! Also, your manager Chris Wilder used to play for Rotherham and was a very good full back.
I was impressed with Oxford`s start to the season but they seem to have gone into freefall in recent weeks which is hopefully a good sign for Rotherham.
8 Do you know of an Interesting fact about Rotherham we might not know?
The first black player ever to play in the football league had Rotherham as his first club - Arthur Wharton. He signed professional for Rotherham in 1894 and prior to that played for Preston as an amateur. He was also a runner and at one time held the world record for the 100 yards sprint!
9 What`s your prediction for Saturday?
Has to be 2-0 to Rotherham at fortress NYS
Thanks Matt for your contribution and I'm sure Oxford fans who visted the Don Valley will welcome your change in location. All the best for the season but we need to break our freefall as you put it.
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