19:45, Friday 9th February, The Den
Millwall welcome Neil Warnock's high flying Cardiff City side for this Friday evening game down in South Bermondsey.
Just like their nickname suggests, the Bluebirds are flying, and are outside the top two automatic promotion places by just three points. A win at the home of the Lions and other results going their way could see the Bluebirds soar into second place, but Millwall will be eager to put the recent FA Cup defeat against Rochdale behind them.
After a busy transfer window for Millwall, there may be a number of players who could make their debut, and possibly a second debut if our new number 7 takes to the field....
LAST TIME OUT
Rochdale 1-0 MILLWALL: A strong Millwall side and the lure of an FA Cup home tie against Tottenham Hotspur was not enough for our boys in blue, as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against the Dale. Many on social media have criticised the team selection and questioned Millwall's priorities this season, but the eleven players chosen should've beaten a team at the bottom of League One.
Leeds United 1-4 CARDIFF CITY: Neil Warnock's return to his old club was a happy one, and the game was effectively over in the first half when the Welsh club were 3-0 up at half time. Paterson, Hoilett, Morrison and Pilkington were on the score sheet for the Bluebirds, and ironically it was Cardiff who scored Leeds' only goal, as Sol Bamba's own goal briefly excited the home fans.
None of Millwall's fringe players have done enough to warrant a start, and with a number of key players rested for the Rochdale game, Neil Harris should return to his strongest side. The left hand side continues to be a problem for the Lions since Aiden O'Brien's injury, and although on paper a right sided winger, don't be surprised to see Marshall start on the left side of midfield. After scoring for the under-23's, Tim Cahill may make his way on to the Millwall bench.
Cardiff City (3-4-2-1):
Going away and scoring four means that the team picks itself, as long as there are no fresh injury concerns of course. Neil Warnock is a master of second tier football and relishes his returns to The Den. Warnock will pack out the midfield to stop Williams and Saville playing, but will look to Hoilett to get the ball quick and break with it.
KEY BATTLE: JAKE COOPER (MILLWALL) VS. GARY MADINE (CARDIFF CITY)
Bolton fans were devastated when Gary Madine swapped the Trotters for the Bluebirds. At 27 years old, Madine is entering the prime of his career, and his 10 goals in 30 games for a struggling side near the bottom of the table shows he knows where the back of the net is. Although Cooper has proven his worth a this level, Madine will target the more inexperienced centre-half, and will look to link up with the dangerous Junior Hoilett.
Winning back the fans?
The Millwall crowd have been very supportive of Neil Harris and the Lions this season, but there are some sections of the supporters who are very disappointed with what they deemed to be a poor team selection in the FA Cup loss to Rochdale. The Millwall fans are arguably the most passionate in the country and always back their team, but do some of those who have the potential to be the next 'boo-boy' have to work harder to win back the fans?
The second coming?
Ever since the superb #thereturn video showing the comeback of Millwall legend Tim Cahill, the Lions fans have been asking which game it'll be where we will see our new number 7 make a return. Fitness wise, Tim Cahill still isn't fit enough to start a game for the Lions, but the photos unleashed and the fact he got a goal in the recent under-23's game shows he is getting closer. Will he make the bench? Let's hope so!
PREDICTION: MILLWALL 1-1 CARDIFF CITY
As usual, Millwall always perform best against the bigger teams, especially at home. Although I think Millwall have a point to prove, and have proven tough to break down, Neil Warnock has built a great team who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. A score draw is my prediction for this game. Come on you Lions!