IF Rotherham require any Boxing Day inspiration ahead of today’s Roses game with Wigan, they will find it exactly 13 years to the day.
It proved an occasion to savour, with precocious young striker Will Hoskins bursting onto the scene for the Millers by firing two goals from the bench in a 2-1 win in Lancashire, with Rotherham current caretaker chief Paul Warne lining up for Ronnie Moore’s side in that game.
It represented the Millers’ sixth successive win in nine games and contributed much towards securing their second-tier status in 2003-04 – a season when they were still in the relegation zone at the end of November.
To haul themselves away from trouble this time around they face a much more arduous task.
To give themselves any chance, Warne will not need telling twice that it is imperative that the Millers win back-to-back festive home games with Wigan and then Burton.
Warne is in a bit of a quandary regarding whether to involve Kirk Broadfoot, one of the heroes of last season’s ‘great escape’.
The influential defender is ‘chomping at the bit’ after recovering from a back injury that has kept him out since August, with Warne saying: “Ideally, I would not be playing Broady on Boxing Day. But I may include him on the bench.
“In fairness, the lads on the bench have done nothing wrong and, realistically, I would like to get Broady another 70- or 80-minute game behind closed doors so I know he is ready.
“The problem now is that Broady is desperate to play and thinks he should.”
Last six games: Rotherham LLLWLL Wigan DWLLLL.
Referee: D Coote (West Yorkshire).
Last time: Rotherham 1 Wigan 2; March 14, 2015; Championship.