Famous away victories against Burnley and Ipswich Town – the former a 6-2 triumph – lit up the 2002-03 season and a Will Hoskins-inspired Boxing Day win at Wigan Athletic in 2003 was another special moment. Even during their relegation campaigns of 2004-05 and 2016-17 brief festive joy arrived against the likes of Leicester City and Wigan.
Victory today against a free-scoring West Bromwich Albion side would be right up there in terms of special festive moments.
It would also provide some security at the bottom end of the table as the Millers aim to record their first win in seven games and back up some gallant recent draws with the head-turning acquisition of three points.
On the last occasion that these two sides met at this level United sprang a major surprise by way of a 1-0 victory at The Hawthorns thanks to Chris Sedgwick’s goal.
That came in February 2004 when the Baggies were chasing promotion, just as they are now.
It would constitute another shock should history repeat itself, although fifth-from-bottom Millers have troubled a number of leading sides this season, including Sheffield United, Derby County, Middlesbrough and – to a slightly lesser extent – Leeds United and Norwich City.
Utility man Semi Ajayi, one of the club’s leading lights this term, said: “It is another good challenge against a team that has just come out of the Premier League.
“It is another opportunity for the boys to come up against top players and show that we are capable and good enough to compete at this level.
“I am looking forward to it, as I am sure the rest of the lads are, and we are looking to give a good account of ourselves.
“We do not highlight certain games thinking we need to win here and we can afford to lose that one.
“We want to win every single game and we will see where that takes us.”