19:45, Tuesday 12th September 2017, Loftus Road (London)
For the first time since he got the Lions relegated in 2015, Ian Holloway will face up against his former club. Neil Harris, Millwall’s current manager, took over from the dire situation that ‘Ollie’ left Millwall in, leading them back to the Championship last season. One thing is certain about this game, Holloway will not enjoy seeing those Millwall supporters.
QPR will be looking to move into an early play-off spot as they currently sit in eighth place. They have three wins and a draw from their opening six, particularly impressive after many expected them to struggle massively in 2017-18 due to Holloway’s abysmal record last season after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was sacked.
Millwall deserved to win their opening five, but only managed to pick up five points after draws against Bolton and Bristol City and a 4-0 dismantling of Norwich in the last game before the international break. Their performance in their last fixture against Wolves left a lot to be desired. Five points from the opening six does sound a lot worse than Millwall have actually performed, that is for certain.
Last Time Out
QPR 2-1 Ipswich – The Rs managed to pick up another three points at home to Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town. Despite some late pressure from the Tractor Boys, the home side held on. Ipswich will feel aggrieved as there was a contentious decision in QPR’s first goal with a handball that could have been given. Holloway’s side overall were dominant overall, however.
Wolves 1-0 MILLWALL – In what was comfortably the Lions’ worst performance of the Championship season so far, they were never really in the game. Wolves were in control from start to finish really, with only Jordan Archer keeping Neil Harris’ side in the game for the most part. Just as the Lions started to get a foothold in the game, however, Aiden O’Brien’s red card scuppered any chances of a Millwall comeback.
(3-5-2): Smithies; Robinson, Onouha, Baptiste; Wszolek, Luongo, Freeman, Scowen, Bidwell; Washington, Mackie
The Loftus Road outfit seem to have no injury worries going into Tuesday night’s game, and are unlikely to make any changes after another win on Saturday.
(4-4-2): Archer; McLaughlin, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; Wallace, Saville, Williams, Ferguson; Morison, Gregory
After Aiden O’Brien’s red card against Wolves, Shane Ferguson is likely to start in left midfield for the Lions at Loftus Road. Jake Cooper could come into the side for Byron Webster, whilst Tom Elliot will miss out because of injury.
Key Battle: Conor Washington (QPR) vs Shaun Hutchinson (MILLWALL)
Former Peterborough man Conor Washington seems to be in good form at the moment, as is central defender Shaun Hutchinson of the South London side. If Hutchinson can do what he has done a lot in the past nine months for Millwall and keep Washington quiet, QPR will find goals a lot harder to come by. He has made over eight clearances per game on average, as well as 1 tackle and 1.3 interceptions across the six games. Washington has two goals so far this season, and has been taking 2.3 shots per game for QPR, something Hutchinson will look to keep to a minimum.
Can Steve Morison find his form again?
Morison has been a Millwall talisman for the last two seasons, leading the line brilliantly in League One. At 34, he hasn’t led the line quite as effectively so far back in the Championship, but there isn’t anyone currently available for selection who could lead the line. If Morison can dominate his centre back opposition on Tuesday night and win a lot of headers for the players around him, Millwall will cause a lot more problems for QPR.
QPR’s home form
So far, QPR have won nine of their ten points at home, winning all three of their home league fixtures. Ollie’s men have the better side in each of those games and deserved their victories, something Neil Harris and his side will be looking to change. The likes of Idrissa Sylla, Conor Washington and Jamie Mackie have all scored crucial goals to put QPR in the position that they currently are.
A lack of variety?
Two of Millwall’s striking options are unavailable for selection on Tuesday, and their style of getting it up towards Gregory and Morison early or out wide could become quite predictable, potentially allowing teams to suss out Millwall and adapt to defend against them quite easily. Shane Ferguson coming in at left midfield could change it slightly, but Millwall will have to try some new things.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Millwall
Plenty of Millwall players will be determined to get one over on a former manager who almost ruined some of their careers, but QPR have been very good at Loftus Road so far this season. An early goal from Millwall would help to settle their nerves, but with QPR’s quality I would expect them to score.