From South Yorkshire to South London, the Papa Johns Trophy Final will mark the first competitive meeting between Rotherham United and Sutton United.
However, despite the two teams having never crossed paths before, they aren’t simply united in name. The Millers and the U’s share more in common than you might think; current crop and past players, and dream debuts all link this year’s Finalists…
A familiar face
Millers supporters might spot a familiar face among the Yellows camp when the two teams step out onto the hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium this weekend. Experienced midfielder Rob Milsom will be among the Sutton ranks, with the 35-year-old having spent almost two years in South Yorkshire.
Milsom, who played for Rotherham between 2013 and 2015, even featured in the Club’s 2013/14 Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final triumph over Leyton Orient.
Rotherham also have an insider of their own in the shape of the Millers’ current Head of Recruitment, Rob Scott. The former EFL defender, who made over 150 appearances for the South Yorkshire side during his 16-year playing career, first cut his teeth in South London.
The now-48-year-old spent little more than a year on the books at Sutton between 1992 and 1993 as a teenager before being spotted by then-top-flight outfit Sheffield United, going on to join Rotherham.
Taking a bow
For Sutton attacker Will Randall, the showpiece could see his career come full circle. The 24-year-old, who netted the opener for the U’s in their Semi-Final showdown against Wigan Athletic, will remember his professional bow for hometown team Swindon eight years ago.
The Wiltshire-born winger was handed his debut on the last day of the 2013/14 campaign for the visit of Rotherham. Although the game ended in defeat for the Robins, Randall managed 20 minutes under his belt against a Millers side which included current team-mate Milsom, as the Millers headed for the Play-Off Semi-Finals and later, the Final.
Similarly, Rotherham defender Angus MacDonald has come face-to-face with the U’s before. The returning centre-half made his cup debut against the Yellows during a temporary loan stint with Basingstoke Town in 2011. The non-league outfit ran out 2-1 winners over Sutton in the FA Trophy as MacDonald introduced himself to the Hampshire team’s fan base.
Meeting with Sutton in the Final should also summon fond memories for Rotherham defender Michael Ihiekwe, although Yellows fans might want to turn away at this point. The 29-year-old notched a dramatic last-gasp winner against the U’s for Tranmere Rovers back in April 2017, which took the Merseyside team level on points with National League leaders Lincoln City.
Ihiekwe, who made the move to the AESSEAL New York Stadium the following season, doubled his tally, finding the back of the net in the 90th minute to make it 3-2 to the hosts, as Prenton Park erupted in euphoric scenes.