Rotherham United followers head for Valley Parade today happy to reflect on the recent hold they have had over Bradford City and recalling the visit late last season.
It was three games from the end and a massive one as it had the opportunity to set up one of them for an automatic promotion spot in League Two.
In the event, amidst a febrile atmosphere stoked up by City, Rotherham stood up to be counted and clinched a superb 2-0 victory which proved decisive in them securing automatic promotion.
It was probably the ugliest game of the season in terms of attractive football. City, with their direct style, had left the pitch unwatered and a hard, bobbly surface with high bounce, wasn’t conducive to passing it around on the deck.
It meant it became a physical game with the ball in the air and, because of the high bounce, it frequently boiled down to courage and determination in the aerial challenges.
With Kari Arnason playing in midfield and setting an early example with two committed challenges in the opening two minutes and no Millers player taking a backward step, it became a a tense battle for supremacy and both sets of players knew that one slip could be fatal.
Bradford, with their intense dislike for Millers boss Steve Evans, had cranked up the feeling beforehand and it was a real cauldron. Some opponents might have buckled but Rotherham’s players showed great character in their response.. they knew what was on the line.
In the event a late penalty from Lee Frecklington had the Millers fans dancing and victory was clinched in the most remarkable fashion right at the end when Rotherham brook from a corner and Kieran Agard was sent racing away into the City half with no one ahead of him and even the City keeper, who had been up for the corner, chasing him!
They go into today’s game having won the last five meetings. In the last four the Millers have scored 12 goals and not conceded any including a recent 3-0 win in the FA Cup.
Millers boss Evans - who had a security escort for that last visit - has promised changes and has to replace Nouha Dicko, recalled by Wigan.
Bradford should have striker James Hanson back and will replace banned Rory McArdle with Gavin Oliver.