15:00, Monday 2nd April, Portman Road
“I dreamed a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living.”
We are one point off the play-offs and fearing no-one. Months back we would go away and play well, but Millwall fans would know we would have that albatross around our neck and be defeated. But not anymore. Millwall are oozing confidence. The pub-talk of getting to the play-offs is sobering up and we are now seriously thinking we may just sneak in there.
I don’t need to tell you the way Millwall are playing and the form we are in. It is a magic time to be a Millwall fan now and even a visit to a Mick McCarthy side, who historically has always seemed to get one over on our South London heroes, doesn’t daunt us anymore. Millwall are soaring and nothing at the moment seems like it will stop us.
The form guide suggests that the Tractor Boys have the upper hand over the Lions, with Millwall being victorious in only three of the past twelve fixture, but the form table wasn’t in our favour against Nottingham Forest, or Hull City, or Barnsley, or Brentford and even Burton Albion.
LAST TIME OUT
MILLWALL 2-0 Nottm Forest: An efficient and direct performance saw Millwall victorious over a Nottingham Forest side, who were more interested in long balls and flicks and tricks instead of finding the back of the Millwall net. Millwall were ruthless, well-organised and got the job done against a potential banana skin when Shaun Williams found the back of the net in the opening minute, and Lee Gregory’s 10th goal of the season secured the three points.
Birmingham City 1-0 IPSWICH TOWN: A single penalty saw the Blues leap out of the relegation zone and condemn Ipswich Town to a third straight defeat. Not only did Ipswich lose this clash against Gary Monk’s side, this was the fourth consecutive game for the Tractor Boys without a goal.
Ipswich Town (5-3-2):
Ipswich will continue with packing out the defence to stop the goals they are leaking. Millwall fans do not need reminding of the threat that Martyn Waghorn possesses, and Freddie Sears is another player who on his day can cause the opposition a lot of problems.
Neil Harris’ hinted at changes after the Nottingham Forest victory, but with the side in such great form as they have been the question is, who would you drop? Every single player who has featured for Millwall’s starting eleven doesn’t deserve to be dropped. I think Harris will either start with his strongest starting line and make early changes in the second half, or perhaps give Morison a breather for the likes of Tom Elliott.
KEY BATTLE: MARTYN WAGHORN (IPSWICH TOWN) VS SHAUN HUTCHINSON (MILLWALL)
Martyn Waghorn has the reputation of being a bit of a shining light and a Steady-Eddie when there is chaos in the ranks. During his loan spell in a disastrous Millwall side, Waghorn was one of only a few who could hold their heads high, and his goals for Rangers and Ipswich in recent years shows just how good a player he can be. Hutchinson, as we all know, isn’t intimidated by the so-called bigger names in the division and has been a real leader this season, but Waghorn is a class act who knows where the back of the net is.
All change please?
As said, this Millwall side are playing excellently and are more than a handful for any opposition player in the Championship. Millwall have been very lucky with injuries and suspensions in the past few months, but there has been hints that tiredness may be settling in. Some of the players deserve a rest, but who on the bench is at the calibre to replace our outstanding starting eleven? Are Shackell, Tunnicliffe, Cahill and Elliott good enough to slot straight back into the side? At the beginning of the season yes, but now?
What is going on at Portman Road?
This Ipswich side are the polar opposite to the Lions. A fan base who are screaming for change, a board who are coming under constant criticism and a manager who can’t leave soon enough, Ipswich are there for the taking. A few years back this would have been a big banana skin that Millwall would slip on, but although he says he is learning, Neil Harris already has the maturity as a manager to not take this fixture for granted.
PREDICTION: IPSWICH TOWN 0-2 MILLWALL
Millwall are riding the crest of a wave of great form and Ipswich are plummeting down a bottomless pit of negativity. You never say never in football, but Millwall will arrive at Portman Road with the expectation to leave Suffolk with the three points. Waghorn and Sears are dangerous players, but will be cancelled out by Cooper and Hutchinson. I expect Lee Gregory to add to his tally in this fixture and hopefully we will end the bank holiday in the top six. Come on you Lions!