League Two preview: Rotherham will welcome the return of Steve Evans

 

Steve Evans completes
his six-match stadium ban this weekend and, unlike the rest of League Two, we
reckon his Rotherham players will be longing for the loudmouth Glaswegian's
return after the visit of Southend. Take the 9/4 available on Paul Sturrock's
men in the draw no bet market.

The basement has been a duller place without Evans around. The FA threw the book at the notorious former Crawley boss for flashing at a female Bradford official following the infamous brawl at Valley Parade last March and the Millers have been fairly lacklustre in his absence with assistant Paul Raynor holding the fort.

The Yorkshire club have mustered eight points from five matches, which doesn't sound too bad, but results don't tell the whole story. Performances have lacked the passion and win-at-all-costs competitive edge you normally expect from an Evans team. Eight points from six matches would be a more accurate reflection, and that's how it might end up.

Home wins over Torquay and Oxford were unconvincing, even though the Gulls offered little and the U's were in the midst of an apalling run. Only Rochdale ventured into New York Stadium with any sort of vibrancy and they reaped full reward, landing odds of 7/2 with a 3-2 success. The gaps are filled in by goalless draws at Barnet and York.

So Southend have nothing to fear, other than the wrath of their manager Sturrock, as they bid to atone for the five points dropped in the last two home matches, including the slight embarrassment of last weekend's 2-2 draw with rock-bottom Barnet.

The Shrimpers were carrying heavy legs against the Bees having played with ten men for nearly 80 minutes against Burton four days earlier, but showed good spirit to fight back to snatch a point. Nonetheless, they seem to be treading a fine line with the manager's patience and a positive showing as underdogs here should set the record straight.

By and large, the Essex outfit are fairly reliable performers, they possess bags of experience and we can rest assured they will be heading north without any sort of inferiority complex, regardless of the money Rotherham have spent in their bid to land an automatic promotion spot. As such, there's plenty of mileage in the price.

Meanwhile, Dean Holdsworth's patience has finally snapped with his Aldershot players and it might just be the trigger for them to spring a big shock at top-of-the-table Gillingham. Have a nibble at some of the 5/1 on offer about the away win at Priestfield.

It's almost impossible to make a case for the Shots via the formbook so far but last season throws much better light on the standards they can set - the Hampshire club finished in the top-half, picking up 21 points from 14 matches against the top seven, and Holdsworth was expecting more of the same this term. 

For whatever reason, it hasn't happened. The squad remains virtually the same but the Shots are second from bottom and feeling very sorry for themselves, hence the need for Holdsworth to deliver a shock to the system with the promise of sweeping changes in the transfer market over the coming weeks.

So let's give the final word to Holdsworth: "I've protected them so far but there are changes to be made. I'm going to be very harsh with them now, they're not going to play unless their form comes back. We've tried the mental approach of having meetings and talking about the right things to do. If they don't learn they'll get replaced.

"You lose trust in players. At the moment, not enough of them are performing. We don't have a massive squad and we try to get the best out of everyone we can. At the moment, it's not coming out. I've got some serious work to do to try and get a couple of players in and bring some quality to the club. We've had some good times and we want them back."

Betting advice...

2pts Southend to beat Rotherham (draw no bet) at 9/4 (Ladbrokes)

Millers have been lacklustre of late and Sturrock's men won't have any inferiority complex.

1pt Aldershot to beat Gillingham at 5/1 (Boylesports)

Out-of-sorts Shots might respond to their manager's patience finally snapping in midweek.

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'