SEASON SO FAR…
Having suffered play-off heartbreak back in May, many tipped Millwall to challenge for promotion once again this term and given their form in recent weeks, that certainly looks to be the case as we head towards the halfway point of the campaign.
A 3-1 reverse at the hands of Barnsley at the national stadium some six months ago denied the Lions the opportunity to return to the second tier of English football at the first time of asking, with a familiar face in the form of Mark Beevers getting his name on the scoresheet for the London outfit that day.
Fast forward to the present day meanwhile and Beevers himself is a mainstay in the Bolton defence following his summer move to Macron Stadium, while Millwall themselves are just a point shy of the play-off positions having accrued 24 points from their opening 16 games.
Back inside the opening weeks of the campaign, it had seemed as though today’s visitors were experiencing something of a play-off hangover with them winning just three of their opening eleven fixtures in Sky Bet League One.
Since early October however, they have lost on just one occasion – ironically against Wanderers at The Den a month ago – and arrive at BL6 this afternoon on the back of a five-game winning streak in their domestic exploits.
Comprehensively defeating Bristol Rovers 4-0 in their last league encounter a week ago, the Lions are certainly making all the right noises for a team looking to challenge in the upper echelons of the division this term.
No doubt also eager to avenge Wanderers’ victory on their patch last month, Saturday’s encounter will be a test of each side’s credentials with Wanderers in particular looking to make home advantage count after two narrow defeats on the road in recent weeks.
- L - Millwall 0-2 Bolton - 18/10/16
- W - Millwall 2-1 Fleetwood Town - 22/10/16
- W - Oxford United 1-2 Millwall - 29/10/16
- W - Millwall 1-0 Southend United - 04/11/16
- W - Luton Town 1-3 Millwall - 08/11/16
- W - Millwall 4-0 Bristol Rovers - 12/11/16
MANAGER: NEIL HARRIS
A legend on the Millwall terraces, Neil Harris became the Lions’ manager on a permanent basis in May 2015 after a ten-game spell as interim boss.
Nicknamed “Chopper”, he return to the club as a coach ahead of the 2013/14 season having hung up his boots aged 35.
As a player meanwhile, he started out with Cambridge City before moving to The Den in 1998.
Named as Player of the Year in his first full season at the club, he become a legend amongst the Millwall faithful and, after being given the all-clear from testicular cancer in 2002, carried on playing for the Londoners for two further seasons before joining Nottingham Forest in 2004.
Three years with the Reds followed, but Harris’ heart led him back to The Den once again in 2007 where he stayed for a further four years.
Eventually winding down his career with Southend between 2011 and 2013, he took his first steps into coaching with today’s visitors by working with both the first team and development squad.
And following a number of stints in temporary charge of the club after the dismissal of Steve Lomas and Ian Holloway, he was given the reins permanently and in his first full season in charge, led the Lions to the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final.
KEY PLAYER: LEE GREGORY
Having lost Steve Morison to injury, there will be added pressure on Lee Gregory when Millwall travel to Macron Stadium on Saturday.
The Lions beat off interest from a number of Football League clubs to secure the forward’s signature from FC Halifax Town in June 2014, with him quickly becoming an integral member of their first team set-up.
Born in Sheffield meanwhile, he started his playing career at Sheffield United but found his way into the senior game via Staveley Miners Welfare, for whom he scored 37 goals in his only season with the non-league club.
Catching the eye of Mansfield Town, his opportunities with the Stages proved to be limited and he made the switch to Halifax in 2011.
A move which proved to be a catalyst for Gregory, with him bagging 31 goals in 39 appearances, Millwall paid £250,000 to take him to The Den two years ago and he has not looked back since.
Forming a lethal partnership with Morison last season, the frontman has scored over 40 goals in all competitions for the Lions to date.
LAST MILLWALL XI (v Bristol Rovers, W 4-0)
Archer, Martin, Craig, Romeo, Webster, Williams (Cummings 86), Thompson (Butcher 72), Onyedinma, Gregory, O'Brien (Worrall 62), Smith.