Rotherham United are being used as a role model by one of their Championship rivals next season.
The Millers survived their first year back in the second tier, defying the odds and a Football League points deduction to ensure their safety.
And Karl Robinson, manager of MK Dons, believes his newly-promoted side can take heart from the achievement of Steve Evans’ side.
“Our aim has to be to try and emulate Rotherham in sustaining ourselves in the Championship,” he said.
The Dons are the Millers’ opening-day opponents on August 8 at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Their last visit to New York, in Rotherham’s 2014 League One promotion season, saw them leading 2-0 before the home side fought back to draw, but Robinson acknowledges how much a year at a higher level will have benefited Evans’ outfit
“Rotherham is a great one to start with because they’ve set the benchmark and stayed in the Championship after gaining promotion,” he said. “They will be a much better team than we played a couple of years back.”
Evans is focusing purely on Rotherham’s August fixtures as he looks for a good start to his mission to make the Millers a midtable side.
But the January 2 clash at Preston North End - the club his team beat in the two-legged League One play-off semi-final two seasons ago - has caught his eye.
“The last couple of times we’ve been there we’ve put in excellent performances,” he said. “We’ll hope that can continue.”
Rotherham finish next season with a Yorkshire derby, at relegated Hull City, which has echoes of the last campaign when they travelled to Leeds United for their final game
“It wasn’t the best game in terms of a spectacle on the pitch at Elland Road, but the occasion, with one of Leeds’ biggest crowds of the season, was fantastic,” Evans said.
“There was a strong following of Millers, which I’m sure will be the case again on the final day of the 2015/16 campaign.”
Meanwhile, a unique piece of Millers memorabilia is up for grabs.
Football League sponsors Sky Bet are updating their ‘Winner’s Wall’ at their Leeds headquarters, meaning that Rotherham fans can bid for a signed team shirt which has been framed alongside a League One play-off winners medal and photograph of the Millers’ victory celebrations.
Money raised will go towards research into Rett Syndrome, and Evans said: “I’m urging all Rotherham fans to get bidding and play their part in helping a great cause.”
The auction is live on Sky Bet’s eBay site and runs until June 24.
Visit the site at www.skybet.com/auction