It’s the third round of the Carabao Cup and after defeating League One sides Gillingham and Plymouth Argyle in the earlier rounds, the Lions have been rewarded with a clash with newly-promoted Premier League side, Fulham.
Although putting in a more battling performance away at West Bromwich Albion, Neil Harris will be desperate for a victory in any contest to try and halt the current run which has seen only one win, one draw and five defeats in Millwall's last seven games in all competitions.
Since promotion to the Premier League after winning the Championship Play-Offs, Fulham have had a respectable start to life back in the English top tier. They may have three defeats from their opening six, however their one win and two defeats put them in 15th place and already with a slight cushion over the trap door.
Neither side has the Football League Cup at the top of their priority list, however both sides will be looking for a morale boosting win to reignite their seasons.
Haven't we met before?...
Millwall 0-3 Fulham, 20th April 2018 – Both sides were chasing promotion to the Premier League and both sides were on fantastic unbeaten runs, however after weathering a first half flourish from the Lions, the soon-to-be promoted side showed their class and goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Kevin McDonald and Aleksandar Mitrovic all but ended Millwall’s fairy tale journey. The Lions may have been outclassed in the second half, but the home fans were fantastic throughout and gave Neil Harris and his side a standing ovation as they left the field.
Shaun Hutchinson remains the only long-term absentee for this fixture for Millwall, whilst Ryan Tunnicliffe also looks set to miss out with a foot injury. With Ryan Leonard and Tom Bradshaw cup tied for this fixture, Jem Karacan is expected to feature for the Lions and Jordan Archer could return in goal.
Fulham midfielders Tom Cairney and Neeskens Kebano are also unlikely to feature in this London derby with foot and ankle injuries respectively.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
The experienced midfielder has featured sparingly so far this season, however with a number of first team players unavailable for the Lions, Karacan should start in the middle of the park. A player with bags of experience and one who is eager to impress on his short term deal, the former Turkish under-21 International has shown glimpses of what he can do in previous League Cup outings and the fans will be hoping for similar against Fulham.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week's 'Who Are Ya?', we speak with a number of Fulham fans from @Turnstile_Talk and @FriendsOfFulham fans forum. This week we ask how they feel Fulham have settled back in the top flight, what they think of Millwall's current form compared to last year's promotion push and which players the Lions need to look out for.
1. After promotion last season, Fulham have had a reasonably good start to life back in the Premier League. How do you think the season has been so far?
FOF: Much as I expected, the Premier League has changed a lot since Fulham were last there, the players generally are bigger and faster. I think players and management are a bit surprised at this, and I am, but the investment was generally sound, and given for the 3rd year running we have bought a completely new team it will take time for them all to get used to playing how Slav wants.
TT: Well we're six games in and notched up 5 points with three defeats, two draws and a win. The majority of our supporters are reasonably happy with this return to be honest. The Premier League can be a daunting but exciting place for newly promoted sides but under Slav we are clearly going to stick to his views on how he feels the game should be played and be successful. The style that got us prompted is the same as what we're trying to play once again but at a higher level. You can't fault him for that to be fair. £100m was spent on players in the summer, which is an obscene mount of money for a club like Fulham but the board have put up the dough and backed the manager completely. The team is still 'work in process' but they'll no doubt gel as a team as the weeks go by...… we hope!
2. Do you think you may be in a relegation fight this season, or do you think you may have enough to stay in the division comfortably?
FOF: I think we'll be ok this season, bottom half of the table but still ok. Cardiff, Huddersfield and Newcastle are going to struggle this season.
TT: There's a firm belief that there's enough within the squad to avoid relegation but it's going to be a long hard season. The fire power is there and we've got goals within us, what with a certain Serbian being bang on fire. The problem at the moment is the back line just hasn't been stabilised just yet. It's clear Slav may not know his favoured defensive partnerships in regard to the CB's, he's started playing Sess at LB (he's not a LB but can fill the role if required) and depending on opponents he's still deliberating over Fosu-Mensah and Christie at RB. It's all a bit messy and no one ever knows who will be starting. It'll settle down in due course, it's going to exciting albeit frustrating and nervy at the same time.
3. You’ve played one game in the cup so far with a straight forward 2-0 win against Exeter. How is the league cup viewed by the club and the fan base?
TT: We've never been known as one of the 'cup competition' clubs as history clearly shows. Only one trip to Wembley in 1975 for the FA Cup Final says it all really. The League Cup has never been favourable for us. We've only made the 1/4 final once and that was in the 1967/68 season and the clubs heaviest defeat in our history was in the League Cup when we got tonked 10-0 at Liverpool! This question depresses us, we'll move swiftly on if that's ok...………..
FOF: Different competition. I'd expect to see our 2nd 11 in the Cup, which is not much worse than our first 11.
4. Last season Millwall were one of the sides who were up there challenging for promotion, has our current run surprised you considering how close we were last season to gaining a play-off place?
TT: We'll state the obvious, 1 point out of the last 18 available isn't great but this is a tough old league to get out of and we're glad to see the back of it. In our opinion it's already starting to take shape with all the likely lads at the start of the season are already in the top six or just slightly off the pace. It's a long, long season and the games come thick and fast so putting a string of results together is vital even at this stage with just the nine games gone. One of the TT team has a soft spot for Millwall which dates back to the 90's. He has friends who support you lot and that actually live in Fulham. I know he hopes that Millwall can turn it around and get back on track this season by finding some of that form which saw you on the verge of the playoffs last time around.
FOF: Not really, like Fulham you started slowly last season and came good at the end, I can see that happening again. I always think fans who anticipate one season following the next in exactly the same pattern it finished are unrealistic.
5. Aleksandar Mitrovic has signed permanently from Newcastle and has been in great form scoring five goals already this season. Can you see him featuring against the Lions?
FOF: I think Joka will let him sit this one out.
TT: In short, No! There's no point risking him. He was an unused sub for the Exeter match. AK bagged a brace in the last round so we're pretty sure he'll get run out and with Fonte now out on loan we could see Ayite play up top as he has done in the past, albeit not ideal.
6. Which other players do Millwall need to look out for?
TT: Based on the squad for Exeter and assuming Slav will go for much of the same, half the starting XI will be made up of players that got us promoted so you'll be fully aware of them. The rest will be made up of new players who are yet to cement a starting position in the league. It all depends on how serious Slav wants to take this competition really but we think you'll find we've got this one spot on. No one really to look out for, we'll play a passing game from the back and we'll have pace on demand.
FOF: From our 2nd 11? Most everyone; we have a few starlets coming through that might play, Matt O'Riley and the 15 year old being watched by the Top 4.
7. What do you think the score line will be?
FOF: 2-0 Fulham. You could catch the 2nd team on a bad night though, so you never know. We won 3-0 in our last meeting and remember us barely being bothered and could have been worse. It will have to go in a different direction from the get go for the result to turn out otherwise.
TT: The big question! We've thought long and hard and we feel it'll be won on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Who wins the shootout, well that's anyone's guess! Enjoy the game!
PREDICTION: MILLWALL 1-1 FULHAM
This fixture will see many changes from the usual starting line-ups, as both sides will be more interested in keeping players fresh for their league games. With that said, I can still see goals as both sides do like to play attacking football, albeit with completely different styles. A score draw is my prediction for this one and if it goes to penalties........ 5-4 Millwall, our luck has to change eventually!
Come on you Lions.