IF ever there was a sobering result then it has to be Rotherham United’s 5-0 defeat Dagenham last Saturday.
There were the Millers, going well, having won four and drawn one of their previous five with performances indicating that they were heading onwards and upwards.
Suddenly, they were stopped in their tracks by the worst defeat since March 2010 when a similar 5-0 scoreline at Chesterfield was to cost Ronnie Moore his job.
Only goalkeeper Andy Warrington came out of the game with any credit.
Blameless for the goals, he made some fine saves which prevented it being worse and, as he walked off at the end, found himself being applauded by the Millers following - not a common occurrence for a goalkeeper who has just conceded five!
Tomorrow they are back at the New York Stadium to face a Cheltenham side who, once again, are proving a surprise package. Or, perhaps not!
They led League Two last season in January and were still in the automatic promotion places in March.
In the end they had to be content with the play-offs whereupon they lost in the Wembley Final to Crewe.
Despite losing a couple of key players, manager Mark Yates has got the Robins challenging again.
They operate a 4-2-3-1 formation and have proved hard to beat away from home, losing only one of eight away games. They reportedly played particularly well in their last away game, a goalless draw at leaders Gillingham.
Unbeaten in five (four won and one one drawn), they could well prove the stiffest test the Millers have yet faced at the New York Stadium.
In midfield they have former Premier League man Darren Carter. Once of Birmingham and West Brom, he was at Preston but got released and, despite offers from elsewhere, agreed a six month deal with Cheltenham.
In the squad too is former Millers loanee Shaun Harrad who is on a season-long loan from Bury.
“Mark Yates has done a fabulous job there and this will be a real tough ask,” said Millers boss Steve Evans.
“What happened last week hurt everyone and we have had to get it out of our system this week. The fans will be behind us and we have to show that actions speak louder than words.”
With a seven point gap between them, Rotherham can cut it to four with a game in hand. But they can also go a damaging ten points behind if they lose.
Kari Arnason is out again. Craig Morgan, who injured an ankle last week, remains a major doubt. Midfield David Noble should be in the squad.