Rotherham United will go into their FA Cup third-round tie with Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday thinking they have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Only one division separates the two opponents, but the financial gulf widens the gap significantly, with City one of the richest clubs in world football while the Millers operate on the lowest budget in the Championship.
City, even allowing for a multitude of changes after a hectic Christmas schedule that culminated in last night’s huge Premier League 2-1 victory over Liverpool, are overwhelming favourites to progress.
But Rotherham at least approach the fixture having given themselves a lift in the league, New Year’s Day’s 2-1 victory over Preston North End seeing them climb out of the relegation zone.
Rotherham’s assistant manager Richie Barker said: “I always think it’s vital when you have an international break or a cup break that you finish on the back of a positive result.
“It certainly makes the league table more enjoyable to look at. It would have been a long Christmas if we’d have come away with nothing.
“We’ll have a head count ahead of Manchester City and see where we are in terms of numbers.
“Clark Robertson missed Tuesday after rolling his ankle in training, but hopefully he’ll be involved in that head count.”
From a playing perspective, the opportunity to run out at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday is one to relish.
Rotherham have been fortunate with cup draws this year, the Carabao Cup seeing them pitted against Everton at Goodison Park.
Will Vaulks scored that night in a 3-1 defeat in which Rotherham gave a good account of themselves.
Sunday’s test may be even tougher, but Vaulks said: “It’s going to be an unbelievable test against world-class players.
“And it will be great for the fans to experience that as well.
“For us as players, it will be great to test ourselves against players like that.
“You never know, we certainly won’t be counting ourselves out even though it’s going to be extremely tough.
“Let’s go and see what we can do, see if we can pull something special off.”
Midfielder Ben Wiles will be hoping to get the nod having signed a new deal that keeps him at the club until June, 2022.