Oh the weather outside is frightful and unfortunately for the fans in South Bermondsey, so has Millwall's recent form. Winless since the home victory against Ipswich Town at the end of October, Neil Harris' men make the long trip to Deepdale to try and desperately get three points from a ground that they have not been victorious at since 21st February 2004.
After a mixed start to the season, Preston's form has picked up slightly and our hosts have secured three wins and one draw from their last five games and have scored seven goals in this time. Sitting comfortably at the moment in 15th place and with a healthy cushion over the teams in relegation trouble, the Lilywhites is the last place the Lions will want to visit.
Neil Harris has said recently that his recruitment team will be looking at positions "one to eleven" in the January transfer window to try to improve and strengthen his squad, so many of his existing squad will be eager to show their manager why they are worthy to retain their place in the near year.
Haven't we met before?...
Preston North End 0-0 Millwall, 23rd September 2017 – Preston North End extended their unbeaten run in this fixture, but a gritty and dogged Millwall performance saw the South London side leave Deepdale with a well-earned point. Jordan Archer was called into play a number of times to keep out the dominant hosts and although Jed Wallace had a chance for the Lions, it would be Alex Neil who felt a slight twinge of disappointment at the final whistle. The result saw Millwall remain in 16th place on ten points, with a four point gap between them and Sunderland in 22nd place.
Tom Bradshaw and midfielder Shaun Williams remain long-term absentees and remain sidelined for this fixture while Aiden O'Brien, Lee Gregory and Steve Morison will be looking to feature in this game.
Brandon Barker looks set to miss this clash for the home side after he picked up a hamstring injury against Nottingham Forest. Ben Pearson looks set to return after a thigh issue.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
With ten goals and three assists in twenty games so far this season, Robinson is in great form and certainly knows where the back of the net is. Averaging a goal every 159 minutes, Robinson has scored nearly a third of all of the Liliywhites’ goals this and season and if he is on his game at Deepdale then it will be a long day for Shaun Hutchinson and Jake Cooper in the Millwall backline.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week’s ‘Who are ya?’ we sit down and talk with Steph from the Preston North End Fans Forum. This week we ask what the PNE Fans make of the season so far after a slow start, the reason why they are hitting promotion form with goal scoring but replicating relegation-threatened sides with goals conceded and who Millwall need to keep an eye out for.
1. After a slow start to the season, Preston find themselves now in 15th place with 25 points. What do you think of the season so far?
Frustrating, our position doesn't really tell the full story. We have so many long term injuries to crucial players. We are scoring for fun. So its very frustrating to be where we are, after such a good run last year but it is far from over yet. We just need to stop conceding.
2. Your goals scored in the league up until this point is 32, which is up there with some teams in the top 6, but your goals conceded (35) is worse than two of the teams in the bottom three. Why are you leaking so many goals?
Preston fans used to say we don't score many, but have a great defence. We are now the opposite. We lost more than a player when we lost Cunningham, who we didn't really replace, for me he was a leader at the back. Personally, i believe it doesn't help when you keep swapping your defence around, including goalkeepers. I feel consistency is needed for a strong defence. We have improved our attacking game significantly and I feel because of this we have sacrificed some defence. We need to work out the balance, we've proved we can do both.
3. Alex Neil has been in charge a while now and after last season’s 7th place finish, seems to be taking the club in the right direction. What do the club think of the manager’s tenure at the moment?
I like him, we seem to be playing better football. More fluid, more attacking - its exciting. He is having a rough time with injuries right now but other than that I'm impressed. Its a tough job here, high expectations on a low budget, i feel he should be backed more by the board in terms of money to spend in the transfer but overall I'm happy.
4. Do you think the run last season and the final league position in 17/18 can be achievable (7th) or would you settle for a mid table now if it was offered to you?
I believe our squad is too good to be relegated, I know this league can be crazy but in terms of safety I think we are going to be fine. The injuries are what's killing us but we've been doing ok without. I think because of this I would settle with mid-table that being said I don't think we are to be written off just yet.
5. Which player(s) do Millwall need to keep and eye out for?
If Pearson is back, he is your man. He dominates midfield - I don't believe there is a better defensive midfielder in the league. We are very lucky to have him and he is missed when he isn't in the squad. He was out through injury last game, I can imagine he will be back for this one.
6. What do you think the score will be?
Millwall are on good form lately, not to be messed with. I'll go with a very scrappy 2-1 win to us. (Though my footballing brain is telling me a draw, you have to follow your heart)
PREDICTION: PRESTON NORTH END 1-1 MILLWALL
Both teams score a lot of goals, but both teams are far from water tight at the back at present. With Millwall's attacking options being bolstered then that should be enough for one of Neil Harris' front men to find the back of the net, but when you have Callum Robinson in double figures already this season for the home side, don't beat against them on not scoring also. Although Millwall will travel looking for the win, many fans would take a draw if offered.
Come on you Lions.