IF ROTHERHAM United are to reach the third round of the FA Cup, they will have to get past a familiar foe this afternoon.
Warrington-born Ian Sharps is the mainstay of Shrewsbury Town’s back four and is bidding to maintain his unbeaten record against the Millers.
Since departing Don Valley Stadium 18 months ago, Sharps has helped the Shrews to two wins and a draw over their League Two rivals.
“It does add a bit of spice playing against your old team and players you know,” Sharps admitted. “It will be a tough game. We drew 1-1 there recently and they’ve only lost once since then so it should be a good competitive game.
“If we don’t work as hard as we have been then we will come unstuck.
“The reason why we have had some good results is hard work.”
The tie promises to be a stern examination of the Millers credentials, as the Shrews have not tasted defeat on their home patch since March when Bury beat them 3-0.
However, you have to go back to 2003 for the last time Shrewsbury made the third phase of Britain’s oldest cup competition.
Shrews manager Graham Turner is without the services of England under-20 midfielder James Wallace as Everton, his parent club, have put a block on him featuring in the tournament, but right-back James Hurst has been granted permission to play by West Bromwich Albion.
Shrewsbury are targeting a fifth win on the spin, but Turner expects Rotherham to pose a formidable challenge.
“Andy Scott [Rotherham manager] is a shrewd lad; he knows what the game is about and it won’t be an easy tie for us,” he said.