Lights! Camera! Action! The Sky TV cameras are back for this Championship tie with Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers.
Apart from the win over West Bromwich Albion on New Year’s Day, Rovers have not won another game since 1st December 2018 when they were 4-2 victors against Sheffield Wednesday and with three defeats in their last four league games, they will be desperate to get back on track. Millwall have been in great form recently and although the football hasn’t necessarily been as fluid as the fans may like, four wins from their last four games in all competitions shows the Lions are back on track and Neil Harris will be eager to keep this run going.
Meetings between the two sides have historically been in Blackburn’s favour, with their eighteen wins overshadowing Millwall’s nine, but with The Den rocking and a nervous Rovers side turning up for the evening’s game, Neil Harris will fancy his side picking up the win.
Haven't we met before?...
Millwall 1-3 Blackburn Rovers, 5th October 1991 – Rovers took the lead in the first half when David Speedie found the back of the net at The Old Den and two later goals from Lennie Johnrose and Simon Garner secured the three points for the visitors. Colin Cooper restored some pride for the home side in Bermondsey, but his goal in the 80th minute was too little too late for the Lions and defeat saw the South London side remain in mid-table in 11th place.
Millwall’s injury list is improving game by game and although Tom Bradshaw, Lee Gregory and Shaun Hutchinson remain absentees, the return of Shaun Williams after his spell on the side lines was a positive to see. Ben Amos is also facing a spell out of the game after injuring his hand in training.
Rovers captain Charlie Mulgrew picked up a hamstring injury in the FA Cup game with Newcastle United, so will face a late fitness test before this game. Ritchie Smallwood misses this game too as he serves the final game of his three match ban and Jacob Davenport also will sit this one out as he continues on his road to recovery.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
In a nutshell, Bradley Dack is absolutely flying in the Championship and so far has a very impressive thirteen goals and seven assists in the both the league and cup. The former Gillingham man has rightly been receiving plaudits in the media for his ability and with eleven of his strikes in the English Second Tier making up a third of his team’s league goals, Dack shows just how vital he is to the recently promoted League One side. If he is on song in South London, it will be a long, long day for the Millwall
midfield and back-line.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week’s ‘Who are ya?’, we sit down with Rovers Chat, the home of all things Rovers and creators of the 1875 podcast. This week we ask the guys how do they feel about the start of the season so far, just how important Bradley Dack and Danny Graham have been to the side and which players the Lions and their fans need to keep an eye out for.
It’s been a mixed first half of the Championship season, but after a few years of insecurity and spending a year in League One, 15th place at the moment isn’t too bad. How do you think the season has gone so far?
I think the season’s gone how I expected it to really, so I’m quite happy. We’ve shown we can more than match some of the best teams in this division, beating West Brom just recently, and we’ll have no problem with staying up.
My only real problem with our season so far is the amount of late goals we concede. I know it’s all ifs and buts and all that but we could be right up there in the play-off spots so that is a bit frustrating.
Both Millwall and Blackburn have scored and conceded an identical amount of goals so far in the Championship (+33, -41), what has led to your defensive frailty in your opinion?
It’s conceding late that’s really let us down. We’ve conceded over a third of the goals that we’ve let in during the final fifteen minutes. I think we just seem to switch off really.
Our away game at Leeds comes straight to mind. We scored a free kick in the 91st minute to go 2-1 up and we still (somehow, which I’ll never know) end up losing 3-2 by switching off and leaving men unmarked.
If we could stop this, as mentioned before, we’d be a serious play-off contender.
Both Bradley Dack and Danny Graham are flying this season with 22 goals and 10 assists between them. The two have scored the vast majority of your goals this year, just how important are they for you?
They’re the reason why we won’t have to worry about relegation or even being too near it come May.
The partnership they have together has been vital for us as you can see by the 32 goals they have been involved in. We was in a bit of a bad run coming in December and we needed a win against Sheffield Wednesday. Up stepped Dack and Graham to win us the game as Dack scored one and assisted three whilst Graham scored a hat-trick and set up the other.
It's a pleasure to watch and I hope they’re on fire together for our match at the New Den.
Ben Brereton and Danny Graham have just signed and extended their contracts respectively, are you happy these deals have been all wrapped up? Is this the catalyst for a bright future at Ewood Park?
I’m very happy the deals have been done. Ben Brereton has had a poor start to his time at the club but he’s a young man who has years ahead of him and he just needs time. It’s a long term project for Brereton.
The Graham deal is big for us. He’s vital to our plans and I truly believe he is the best player we’ve got in terms of what he brings to the team and how much we miss him when he’s not on the pitch.
Which player(s) do the Lions need to look out for?
Other than Bradley Dack and Danny Graham who we have previously mentioned, I’d keep an eye out for Harrison Reed and David Raya.
Reed has been great since he joined, covering the entire pitch throughout a game and he’s got a goal in him when you need it. I really hope that we can make his move permanent as there’s a special player there.
Raya is our number one and he’s come on massively since our relegation season. Some of the saves he has made this season would be talked about on Match of the Day several times if we was on it. He’s only young as well so there’s plenty of time for him to become even better.
I’d also keep an eye out on young midfielder Lewis Travis. Since making his full Championship debut against Sheffield United in December of this season, he’s started three times (including that game) and he’s had three man of the match performances.
Travis is a little terrier who chases after the ball and won’t give up on it. He loves a tough tackle and he can get forward well so he’ll probably start.
What do you think the score will be?
I’m going to be confident and go for a 2-1 victory, which would be our first victory since October 6th. Dack and Graham for Rovers, with Morison for Millwall.
PREDICTION: MILLWALL 2-1 BLACKBURN ROVERS
Both Millwall and Blackburn are identical in the goals for and against and although statistically this would mean this game leans more towards a draw, I can see the home side prevailing in this one and securing the three points. A win for the Lions will see more daylight between Neil Harris’ side and the bottom three, so a close 2-1 win is what I’m predicting.
Come on you Lions.