Peterborough United manager Steve Evans is relaxed and confident about his team’s chances of success this season.
Evans knows anything less than a top-six finish will be seen as a failure by a demanding fanbase (and most probably by a demanding chairman).
But Posh have a man in charge who has been there, done it and worn the ‘t’ shirt as far as winning promotion from League One is concerned. Multiple promotion wins tend to give a manager self-confidence.
And he sees similarities between the Rotherham side he took up from this division in the 2013-14 season to complete back-to-back promotions and his new-look 2018-19 Posh squad. Evans left League Two promotion fancies Mansfield to join Posh last February.
“That Rotherham team had plenty of new faces,” Evans revealed. “And they played the sort of high-tempo, attacking football we will bring to the Posh. That team were strong, physical and determined and I have brought players with those characteristics to this club.
“The play-offs are a minimum requirement. I know that and if it doesn’t happen I will look at myself before anyone else looks at me.
“I won’t need telling. I took this job on knowing what’s expected and I was happy to take on the challenge.
“I could have gone to other clubs after Mansfield, or I could have stayed there, but this is me coming home.
“This is me managing the club I support in the city where I live. My family are all Posh fans and I don’t want to them down. This is a massive job for me and if I can win enough games to bring success to the club, a fantastic chairman and a great group of people I would be the happiest man alive.
“No-one hates to lose matches more than me, but I have a set of players here who run me close.
“There are a lot of good clubs with good players and a good manager in League One, but we are as good as anyone so automatic promotion is a real possibility.
“Sunderland will rightly start favourites, and no-one would be surprised if they get to the top of the league very quickly. They’ve signed some good players in the last couple of weeks, but then so have we.
“I have signed players with a point to prove. They are desperate for success
“I’m not at all concerned at how many new players we are trying to integrate. I started one season at Crawley with a completely new starting XI and we set records in the Conference that will never be broken.
“The squad needed a complete overhaul. There were too many players here who were never going to be good enough to take this club where it needs to be which is the Championship. The chairman told me in the summer that it’s a sign of madness to keep doing the same thing over and over again if it’s not working. I agreed and he has backed me brilliantly.
“Sure, we’ve also lost some talent that I would have loved to have kept. Which manager wouldn’t want the likes of Jack Marriott, Gwion Edwards and Andrew Hughes at his club?
“But we have signed plenty of fresh talent as well.
“Marriott will be the biggest miss, but when Jason Cummings and Matt Godden get up to speed they will score goals and we will certainly get more goals from other areas of the pitch.
“We have midfielders who will get in the penalty area and score goals for a start.
“I have a lot of confidence in this group. I believe we will play football that the Posh fans want to see. We will entertain them and we will dig out wins when we are not at our best.
“My teams play hard for 90 minutes and they play hard for 46 games. Mansfield were mid-table until losing just two of my last 22 games there.
“I can’t guarantee promotion, but I can guarantee the amount of effort the players and staff will put in to give us the best chance of going up.”
Evans took charge of Posh last February when Grant McCann was sacked after a run of seven matches without a win.
Posh were ninth in League One when he took over and finished ninth.
He’s the eighth permanent Posh boss in chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s 11-year reign at London Road.
The others were Darren Ferguson (twice), Mark Cooper, Jim Gannon, Gary Johnson, Dave Robertson, Graham Westley and McCann.
Only Ferguson, in both spells, lasted more than two years in the job.