ONE of the dangers to Rotherham United’s hopes of FA Cup progress tomorrow is any belief that they will be taking on an Aldershot Town side that is as hapless as the one they brushed aside on the league visit there towards the end of October, writes Les Payne.
As Millers manager Steve Evans will be at pains to point out - and Aldershot’s record since barely needs the words - this is a totally different Aldershot side to that one.
“I’d rather be going there having won 3-0 than having lost 3-0 but we can banish any thoughts that it will be as comfortable as it was then because Dean Holdsworth (the manager) has certainly turned it around,” said Evans.
On that afternoon back in October, Aldershot were very poor indeed. The poorest side that Rotherham have played.
The defeat was a seventh in succession - an unwanted club record - and they looked doomed to relegation. Three days later, they travelled to Southend (who had swept Rotherham aside 3-0 just before) and stunned probably even themselves by pulling off a 2-1 win. They have hardly looked back since.
Holdsworth has changed half the side and in the subsequent 14 games since Rotherham’s visit, the Shots have lost only three - two of those to high fliers Port Vale and Bradford City.
The league meeting was also Steve Evans’s return to the dug out after his six game stadium ban from the FA and marked the debut of Lee Frecklington. He heralded his arrival with a goal and a performance which indicated the sort of qualities he would be bringing to the Millers during his loan spell which, on Thursday, became permanent from Peterborough for a six figure sum.
That 3-0 win was also Alex Revell’s last goal.
Daniel Nardiello is over the illness that struck him down on the day of the Rochdale game on Tuesday whilst new on loan striker Adam Morgan, 18, from Liverpool, is in the squad.
Liam Ridehalgh has not been allowed to play previously by his club Huddersfield and Jack O’Connell is on standby to figure at left back as he did in the replay at Notts County.
The clubs have met just twice previously in the FA Cup. Four years ago, Aldershot won 3-0 in the Don Valley replay after a 1-1 draw. They also won 3-0 in a second round tie at Millmoor in 1937.
Rotherham have not been in the fourth round of the FA Cup since 2002.
Did you know? After winning 2-0 at Aldershot in 1992, Rotherham then ‘lost’ the game. It was expunged from the records when Aldershot were expelled from the League before the season ended.