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Sheffield Wednesday wanted Gillingham boss Steve Evans to be their manager during Milan Mandarić's time at the club

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Gillingham boss Steve Evans has revealed how he turned down the chance to manage weekend opponents Sheffield Wednesday.

He met the club’s former owner Milan Mandarić during the time he was charging through the leagues at the helm of South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United. He declined the opportunity.

Steve Evans turned down Sheffield Wednesday during his time at Rotherham
Steve Evans turned down Sheffield Wednesday during his time at Rotherham

Evans took the Millers to the Championship from League 2 and ended up at another Yorkshire club, when he took the chance to manage Leeds United.

He takes Gillingham to Hillsborough this Saturday in League 1.

Looking ahead to the trip, Evans said: “It is an outstanding squad at Sheffield Wednesday and a very intimidating ground to go to. I have had my rivalry with them for years when I was at Rotherham when of course we were just across the M1 from them.

“They are a fantastic supported and huge club and that will bring all of the difficulties that you would expect from going to Sheffield Wednesday.

“I turned down the opportunity to manage them during my time at Rotherham. Milan Mandaric met me in London and wanted me to go but I think there is a saying in Yorkshire, ‘once a Miller always a Miller’.

“I stayed and maybe some of the fans at Wednesday didn’t want me anyway but quite a lot did because of the success we were having (at Rotherham).

“It is one of those stadiums that when their fans get behind them, like Bramall Lane, and like the New York Stadium, the hairs can go up on the back of your neck.

“It is a game where players should want to go and perform at their best on a magnificent stage. It’s a great stage, with all the tradition and history and I have been fortunate to go with there with Rotherham and Leeds and I look forward to taking Gillingham there on Saturday."

Wednesday will be without their regular keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell as he is with the Northern Ireland international squad. Evans doubts the loss of a player he once managed will weaken them much.

Evans said: “I gave Bailey Peacock-Farrell his debut at Leeds United, he is a young man that I know well. I upset Massimo Cellino (the Leeds owner) by saying Bailey would play for his country publicly because he thought he was going to have to pay him more in wages!

“We know who will probably play in preference and it is one top class goalkeeper replacing another.”

Evans was at Hillsborough only recently to see them play out a goalless draw with Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup and he added: "I saw enough at face value to realise what a difficult task it will be for us."

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