After midweek elimination to Fulham in the Carabao Cup, attention turns back to Championship action as Neil Harris' side welcome 4th place Sheffield United to The Den.
Both sides were promoted from League One at the end of the 2016/17 season and both flirted with the idea of a consecutive promotion in the last campaign, however it is the home side who seem to be suffering with second season syndrome and struggling for form. The Blades on the other hand have started the season well and their sixteen points from the opening nine games sees the Yorkshire side sitting comfortable in the play-off places.
Previous meetings with United have produced goals and the Lions have been the more successful in the last ten meetings with four victories and three draws. Neil Harris will be hoping that history repeats itself and his side get back to winning ways to try and stop their current poor run.
Haven't we met before?...
Millwall 3-1 Sheffield United, 2nd December 2017 – Millwall came into this game without a win in six games and not many outside of Bermondsey gave the home side much chance of winning, but a strong and battling performance saw the Lions victorious against a United side who were battling at the top of the table. David Brooks cancelled out Lee Gregory's 14th minute goal, but a wonderful finish from Mahlon Romeo was followed by a Jake Cooper header to seal the three points for the South London side and see Millwall climb to 17th place.
After experimenting midweek with a 3-5-2 formation against Fulham, Harris may consider this shape again, but this will be dependent solely on the players he has at his disposal. Although not being able to keep a clean sheet since he started for Millwall against Plymouth Argyle back in August, Ben Amos still has the faith of Neil Harris and will retain his place in goal but Shaun Hutchinson remains on the side lines with a knee injury.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Sharp is an experienced striker at this level and a class act who knows just where the back of the net is. With five goals already in nine appearances so far this season, Sharp has always proved a handful for defenders and will keep the Millwall centre-halves busy on the day. Not scared to shake it up and get stuck in if needed, the striker continues to be a regular for the Blades although at 32 years old he could arguably now be considered a veteran of the club.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week’s ‘Who am I?’ we speak with Trevor Payling from the Sheffield United Supporters Club. This week we ask, why have the Blades been so sharp, is he surprised with Millwall’s current position and who the Millwall fans need to look out for.
Sheffield United have started the season well and currently sit in fourth place. Did you expect this start so far and do you think you can maintain the early pace?
The ending to last season was a little disappointing, the lack of depth in the squad was a factor in this, I feel. This has been addressed and we look a much stronger squad this time around. The manner of one or two of the performances so far has, set us up to push again for the top end of the League. I see no reason that this cannot be maintained, given luck with injuries etc.
You have scored an impressive 15 goals already and Billy Sharp amongst others seems to have his shooting boots back on. What would you put your effective goal scoring down to?
The goals have been coming from areas other than the front players, our attacking play, coupled with the formation, sets us up to get plenty forward when in attack. A creative midfield can put you on the front foot very quickly at times, catching opposition defences unprepared.
Although last season’s game with Millwall at The Den ended in defeat, it was a high tempo game with plenty of action. Do you expect the same this year?
I expect a hard, tough, uncompromising Millwall side, they are difficult to break down and will be a real challenge for our side to overcome. Both Managers have a similar background, both ex- players turned coaches, they have the respect of the supporters and therefore are well backed, looking forward to this one, should be a good game.
Does Millwall’s position in the league surprise you this year?
I am surprised at Millwall’s start, but in this young League a couple of positive results puts you right back in it. I do expect improvement as the season wears on
Which players do the Lions need to look out for?
This is a tough one, we have, in Olly Norwood a very busy creative player, with good set piece delivery. This is a much improved area, in part, responsible for our goal tally, so, expect good set piece delivery and a threat from our bigger lads, in Billy Sharp, we have a ‘fox in the box’ type with David McGoldrick also a threat, our wing backs are a threat too, so it is a multi-faceted threat we pose, when on song, of course. Nothing is a given in football....
What do you think the score will be?
I don’t expect a 0-0 draw, btts. I’m GOING FOR A 2-1 AWAY WIN.
PREDICTION: MILLWALL 1-0 SHEFFIELD UNITED
There may be pressure on Millwall to produce a result and the home fans may be getting restless, but after improved performances against Leeds United and West Brom in the league, I can see the Lions rising to the occasion and securing the win. The Den has not always been the happiest of hunting grounds for away sides and Sheffield United in particular, so I can see a Millwall victory here.
Come on you Lions.