SHINE A LIGHT - ROTHERHAM UNITED
THE BOSS - STEVE EVANS
I feel like i'm being haunted by the 'characters' in the Football League at the minute. Firstly there was Graham Westley, whose pre and post-match histrionics and sulking were some of the more impressive i've ever heard. Then Paolo Di Canio spent ninety minutes shouting at his own coaching team and bouncing around like a Duracell bunny on speed before proclaiming himself a great manager in his post-match press conference despite his side tamely losing 1-0. Now there's Steve Evans, the master criminal mind. Well, maybe not.
Evans is infamous his time as manager of Boston United, where he was found guilty of tax evasion and impeding an enquiry by the courts and the FA. He was banned from football for twenty months, but received only a suspended sentence and fine from the courts. Somehow though, Boston United never saw fit to sack their man at any point during this fiasco. Evans couldn't keep a club that was disintegrating in the Football League, though, and resurfaced at nouveau riche Crawley Town. Guiding them into the Football League, the FA Cup fifth round and most of the way to League One, Evans jumped ship for Rotherham United, citing the potential of a club about to open the New York Stadium as his justification.
To be fair to Evans, some of his achievements as a manager have been impressive. He took unknown United Counties League club Stamford AFC to a title and promotion, before leaving for York Street. Whilst his promotions with the Pilgrims will forever be tainted and can never really be seen as true achievement, his work after the trial and when the club was imploding was laudable. Almost keeping a side of just eleven professionals plus a handful of youth team players in the league was probably Evans' greatest achievement in football. It is inevitable that he will get Rotherham into League One with their new stadium and finances within two or three years - after that, Evans may finally need to prove himself with more of a level playing field.
STAR MAN - LEE FRECKLINGTON
A slight injury worry, former Lincoln City and Peterborough midfielder Lee Frecklington's fitness will be central to Rotherham's hopes of causing a minor cup shock tomorrow. Originally bursting onto the scene with his home town club, Frecklington bagged over twenty goals from midfield during his time at Sincil Bank, before leaving for Peterborough United in 2009. His time at London Road has been patchy, with spells in and out of the team and on the transfer list, but since joining Rotherham on loan earlier this season he has been a revelation for the Millers.
He has that difficult-to-teach knack of arriving late in the opposition box from midfield, whilst also possessing boundless energy and a good footballing brain. Two goals in eight appearances for Evans' side represents a good returning and, with his boss likely to opt for four across midfield, Frecklington will have to be at his best if Rotherham are to compete for control with Notts' five man central area.
PROBABLE ROTHERHAM UNITED SIDE:-
Mark Bradley - Ian Sharps - Johnny Mullins - Liam Ridehalgh
Ben Pringle - Lee Frecklington - Michael O'Connor - Courtney Cameron
Alex Revell - Daniel Nardiello
PROBABLY NOTTS COUNTY SIDE:-
Julian Kelly - Damion Stewart - Gary Liddle - Alan Sheehan
André Boucaud - Neal Bishop
Alan Judge - Jeff Hughes - Francois Zoko
Notts will be looking to control the midfield against a side who, as is Evans' style, will be looking to play on the front foot and put the visitors under pressure from the off. With the extra man in the centre Notts will be looking to control possession and take the sting out of the hosts before striking themselves, as has been the case in so many of their away games under Keith Curle. The Magpies have Dean Leacock, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Lee Hughes all suspended, whilst it is yet to be confirmed whether striker Chris Iwelumo is available for the cup. If not, Yoann Arquin is likely to take his place upfront. Julian Kelly will look to make his second start after returning from injury at right back, with young Aston Villa loanee Courtney Cameron a quick and tricky customer. Damion Stewart's aeriel presence may also be key against the tall and strong Alex Revell. Going forward, Notts will look to expose a defence that is far from settled, with no fit out-and-out right back either Mark Bradley or Jason Taylor could be given a difficult afternoon by the enigmatic Francois Zoko. The lack of pace of captain Ian Sharps will also be a concern for the Millers and could lead to Curle opting for Arquin rather than Iwelumo upfront.