Millwall’s first game of 2019 sees Neil Harris’ side travel up to Suffolk to face bottom of the table Ipswich Town at Portman Road. Although a side who are traditionally tough to beat and an old-fashioned Championship side, Paul Lambert’s team have struggled this season and find themselves on 15 points and worryingly 7 points from safety.
The Tractor Boys are in wretched form at the moment and have lost 6 of their last 8 fixtures in all competitions. The Lions were also struggling for results, and ironically three points against Ipswich at the end of October was the last time Neil Harris’ side had recorded a win before the two victories over the festive period.
Ipswich have proved to be a thorn in Millwall’s side in recent seasons, with the 2-2 draw at Portman Road last season being the game that halted the Lions’ away winning streak. The Lions just edge the head-to-heads in the league with Millwall’s 19 wins to Ipswich’s 18, but the South London side will need to be at their best to be victorious at a ground they have not won at since April 2012.
Haven't we met before?...
Ipswich Town 3-0 Millwall, 21st April 2012 – Two goals from Andy Keogh and a third from ex-Ipswich midfielder, Liam Trotter secured a convincing win for Kenny Jackett’s side. The day was made even sweeter when Maik Taylor saved a Grant Leadbitter penalty when the score was at just 2-0 and although Michael Chopra rattled the wood work for Paul Jewell’s side, the Lions were never under any real threat and looked good for the win.
Shaun Williams and Tom Bradshaw remain as Millwall’s only long term absentees. Both Lee Gregory and Tom Elliott face fitness tests after picking up knocks and were forced to leave the field against Nottingham Forest.
Ipswich defender Myles Kenlock could retain his place in the side and Jonas Knudsen could drop to the bench or this clash as he is linked with a move away from Portman Road.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Millwall are a different side when Jed Wallace plays, and it is no coincidence that the Lions’ recent upturn in form has coincided with a rise in quality from the midfielder. Showing more of the quality that saw him take the runner-up spot in last season’s Player of the Season, Wallace has shown explosive pace, great skill and some clinical passing in the recent victories against Reading and Nottingham Forest and if he is back on his A-game against Ipswich, there will be only one team leaving Portman Road with the three points.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week’s ‘Who are ya?’, we sit back down with our friends, Ipswich Town Bible. This week we ask the guys do they think the introduction of Paul Lambert has seen an improvement in fortunes, why they have been so goal-shy when they need goals and will the Tractor Boys have enough to remain in the Championship.
1. Paul Lambert has been in for a while and it seems as though that performances have been improving. Is this a fair assumption?
Paul Lambert has fixed the core of the teams confidence, even in defeat. The fans are happier but the results need to start coming. It’s going to be a really important January window getting in the much needed experience and then I think we can judge overall improvement. But for sure things are looking better but need results!
2. You are currently on 15 points and 7 from safety. If you are to stay up, you will need to pick up points quickly. Do the Tractor Boys have it in them to beat the drop?
It all comes down to filling the gaps in experience and quality, and if PL can do that in January then we’ve got a fighting chance in staying up. The team and fans (for the most part!) are United, anything can happen.
3. Ipswich have only scored 19 goals in the league this season. Why have you been so goal shy?
We only have one striker who can find the net, and that’s only just started! We don’t have players throughout the team who can step up and find a goal in them. Freddie Sears’ confidence is back but we need a proven goal scorer along side him.
4. The reverse fixture saw the Lions run out 3-0 victors at The Den. Can you see this fixture being another win for Millwall, or will Ipswich pull something out of the bag?
There’s hope that tomorrow’s match will see a return to the classic ‘home advantage’ feeling. I think at the very least Town will get a draw.
5. Which player(s) do Millwall fans need to look out for?
Not a whole lot has changed since the first game, but realistically right now as Freddie Sears is in decent form he would be the one to watch out for.
6. What do you think the score will be?
I’m going with 2-1 Town win, the turning point has to start as soon as possible so why not tomorrow?!
PREDICTION: IPSWICH TOWN 0-2 MILLWALL
Millwall have struggled on the road so far this season and are yet to record an away win for the 2018-19 campaign, but this will be the game where it all changes. Ipswich have scored less than a goal a game and will not be a threat to Millwall’s back-line or Jordan Archer in the Lions’ goal. Millwall may not have the best strike force in the league, but against a shaky defence who have little confidence, there will only be one winner in this one.
Come on you Lions.