Doncaster Rovers cannot allow their waterlogged Weston-Super-Nightmare to become this season’s ‘Charlton moment’.
Rovers return to the Woodspring Stadium tonight following the farcically late postponement of the original tie just over a week ago.
Perish the thought, if Doncaster were to be sunk by the Conference South strugglers in this evening’s FA Cup first round re-run, there’s a serious danger of their season drowning just like it did last term.
Rightly or wrongly, Rovers’ run-in with the weather at Charlton last season was held up by some supporters as one of the key factors in the club’s Championship demise.
After beating Blackburn Rovers in some style and then giving Wigan Athletic an almighty scare in their backyard, Doncaster’s early season zip drained away from the moment that freakish August monsoon brought a halt to proceedings at the Valley with Rovers 3-1 up.
The abandonment was a momentum breaker. Rovers lost a local derby against Leeds United next time out, and their performances only intermittently reached the heights of that high-octane win at home to Blackburn under the Keepmoat Stadium floodlights.
Admittedly, the circumstances are slightly different this time around.
We’re into November for one thing, and Rovers are struggling to gain any sort of momentum at all.
Indeed Doncaster are proving to be consistently inconsistent, with back-to-back league wins achieved only once since Paul Dickov took charge last year.
However, there are a couple of striking similarities with the context surrounding that crazy afternoon in south London.
Little more than a week ago, just like they did post-Blackburn and Wigan, Dickov’s men made the long trek south in confident mood following combative displays against MK Dons and Bradford City.
And also just like last year their weather-related misfortune was followed by a derby defeat, this time Sheffield United became the latest club to prevent Doncaster recording back-to-back league wins.
Rovers simply cannot afford a derby day hangover.
Sink or swim? Tonight’s re-arranged tie could have a big bearing on how this season ultimately pans out.
It’s getting to that point already. Even James Coppinger and Richie Wellens have admitted that the next two months will be key to determining whether Doncaster can challenge for an instant return to the Championship.
Get the job done in a professional manner tonight and Rovers, once again, will look to kick-on as they embark on a very busy pre-Christmas schedule.
But should they lose to the part-timers, their somewhat brittle confidence could be shattered at just the wrong time - and a controversial postponement could once again become a watershed moment in their season.