The last league fixture before the autumn international break sees Millwall travel to Norfolk to face Daniel Farke's high-flying Norwich City. The Canaries are sitting pretty on the second highest perch in the EFL Championship and are only kept off of top spot by Leeds United on goal difference.
After a shaky start to the 2018-19 campaign which saw only one win in their opening five league games, Norwich have been soaring and have recorded an impressive eight wins and one draw in their last eleven and have been on the score sheet twenty-four times in sixteen Championship fixtures. Although the Lions may not be on the same crest of a wave as the home side, there has been signs of recent improvement compared to the start of the season, but Neil Harris will be eager to bounce back from last weekend's disappointment against Brentford.
This fixture last season saw Norwich run out 2-1 winners against Millwall, with goals from Tom Trybull and James Maddison securing victory for the home side after Steve Morison opened the scoring against his former employers. There has been no goalless draws between the two in the last ten fixtures, but Millwall will be hoping to improve on just the three wins in these meetings.
Haven't we met before?...
Norwich 6-1 Millwall, 26th December 2014 – Ian Holloway's team suffered a huge defeat over the Christmas period as Millwall were heavily beaten by a Norwich side who ended the day just one point outside the Championship play-off places. Goals from Steven Whittaker and Cameron Jerome were followed by two goals each from Bradley Johnson and Gary Hooper and although Jermaine Easter found the back of the net for the Lions, it did little to hide the humiliation Holloway and his side felt.
Both Jordan Rhodes and Todd Cantwell look set to return to action for the home side after missing the win over Sheffield Wednesday. Mario Vrancic and Timm Klose also look like they will be fit to return to the squad, whilst Grant Hanley and Kenny McLean face a late fitness test.
Jed Wallace will be looking for a start after making an appearance from the substitutes bench against Brentford and club captain Steve Morison will be eager to feature against the side who he played for in the Premier League.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Joining the Canaries in July 2018, Pukki has been arguably the best free transfer in the league this season and has scored eight goals in fifteen games in all competitions for the Norfolk side. Along with his excellent strike rate, the Finnish international has also racked up a number of assists and created a superb partnership with Jordan Rhodes up front. Pukki’s goals has contributed to Norwich’s superb start this season and the Millwall back-line will be in for a busy day if the former Brondby and Celtic striker has his shooting boots on for this fixture.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week’s ‘Who are ya?’ we speak with Di Cunningham from Proud Canaries, the Norwich City FC LGBT Fans. This week we ask Di what she thinks of the start the Canaries have had so far, why former Lion Ben Marshall has struggled to get into the side and which players Millwall need to look out for.
What a start so far by Norwich! How does it feel to be near the top of the tree and such great form?
I'm one of the few Norwich fans not surprised by our progress this season - even when we had some poor results early on it was obvious that the Farke/ Webber signings were settling into the Championship and that all the players (minus Oliveira!) are unified by a strong team ethic. With the bonus of the graduation to senior level of Academy of teen stars Lewis, Cantwell and Aarons the squad has talent and strength in depth. But being top of the table last weekend while our agricultural neighbours are at the bottom felt good!
Teemu Pukki and Jordan Rhodes have both been in fantastic form and have 15 goals between them this season, what has made them tick so well?
Neither Teemu nor Jordan are blessed with pace - maybe as a result they've developed a sixth sense for being in the right place at the right time. Plus the whole side have developed an understanding and system of build up play which means plenty of useful deliveries and assists.
A lot of talk around South Bermondsey was when Ben Marshall decided to join the Canaries rather than join Millwall, but he doesn’t seem to have featured much? Why is this so you think?
It must be frustrating for Millwall as well as Marshall that we're not playing him - given that your club understandably wanted to sign him and then the Canaries pipped them. It made sense that following significant midfield departures and an ongoing issue at right-back NCFC wanted Ben, he's just unlucky that Hernandez, Buendia and Aarons have all played consistently well, while Marshall made a few mistakes in early games v WBA and Sheffield United. If he's smart he'll take heart from the progress of Marco Stiepermann - out of the squad for much of last season but a regular in the line up these days.
These fixtures have always produced goals and last season both sides were victorious at their respective home grounds. How can you see this game going?
I think you haven't won away from home this season - so I'm hoping it's not a case of 'Along Come Norwich'! (Fortunately we seem to be losing that rep). Both teams can defend well and get plenty of shots on target and both can come back from losing situations and perform well in the second half so it should be an exciting 90 minutes or so. Of course we'll be concerned about the potential for Morison to score against his former club again.
Which Norwich player(s) do Millwall need to be wary of?
It's getting more difficult week by week to choose an NCFC man of the match - and all the players seem to thrive on match play and improve with each game rather than tiring so, it sounds arrogant, but it's likely you'll see skill and invention from most of the 11 - few of them known to most pundits at the start of the season let alone other Championship club fans: Apart from those already mentioned Mo Leitner and Mario Vrancic play delightful football and create goals and I hope you'll see centre half Christoph Zimmerman recycling the ball to them for an exercise in #FarkeBall!
What do you think the score will be?
PREDICTION: NORWICH CITY 1-1 MILLWALL
Norwich are in great form and are easily favourites for this game, but this will not worry Millwall who always thrive as the underdog. The Canaries have more consistency than they did last year and are pushing for promotion for a reason, but October Manager of the Month nominee, Neil Harris will be looking for a positive response to last weekend’s humbling at Griffin Park. Although I cannot see an away win for the South London side, I can see a tough and dogged performance that will see the Lions leave Carrow Road with a point.
Come on you Lions.