It’s a return to the Football League Championship this weekend as Rotherham United are the visitors for Saturday afternoon’s clash with Millwall.
There are many fans who are still on Cloud Nine after experiencing the 94th minute winner from Murray Wallace against Everton in the FA Cup, but it’s back to business as Neil Harris has to refocus his priorities in the league. Both sides are near the bottom of the table and have some breathing space between them and the bottom three, but Rotherham are nervously looking over their shoulder as they are only one point above the relegation zone.
History between the two in league campaigns has the Millers just edging the Lions, with twelve wins to Millwall’s eleven and Rotherham have beaten the South London side in their last three meetings. Although the form may be in the South Yorkshire side’s favour, riding the crest of a giant killing wave means Neil Harris’ side can’t be written off and will be looking for those vital three points.
Haven't we met before?...
Millwall 4-0 Rotherham, Saturday 20th January 2007 – It was in this fixture that club legend, Neil Harris became Millwall’s all-time record league scorer when he netted the first goal in the 16th minute. Chris Zebroski’s finish in the 26th minute made the game more of an uphill struggle for the away side and although Darren Byfield netted two later goals to complete the mauling, all eyes were on Chopper as he took his Millwall league goal tally to 94 goals.
The cup tied trio of Ben Marshall, Ben Thompson and Fred Onyedinma return for this fixture, but strikers Tom Elliott and Tom Bradshaw remain out with shoulder and knee injuries respectively.
Darren Potter, Jamie Proctor, Ryan Williams and Joe Newell look set to miss the visit of the Millers to The Den.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Unfortunately cup-tied for the game against the Toffees after a fantastic display away at Nottingham Forest, Ben Marshall’s love for Millwall and the delight at being back for the Lions is clear for all to see. Singing and dancing in the stands after the injury-time winner dumped Everton out of the cup, Marshall will be desperate to take to the field again and show the Millwall boss and fans just why he was brought back to the club and why he deserves a place in the starting eleven. A quality player who produces quality crosses time and time again, Marshall will cause nothing but trouble for the Rotherham defence and could prove the difference between victory and defeat.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week's 'Who are ya?' we sit back down with our friends at London Millers and ask them their thoughts on this weekend's fixture. This week we ask has the league been harder than expected, who the Millwall fans need to look out for and what they think the score will be.
1. After a tough start for both teams, Rotherham find themselves just outside the drop zone by a point. Has the league been harder than you would’ve expected?
No, it's been just what I would've have expected with 19 ex premier league sides in there and the Millers with the smallest budget in the league. We are punching above our weight and if in May we are in the same position that we find ourselves in now, I will be more than pleased, we will have excelled.
2. You have conceded 48 goals so far this season, with only bottom club Ipswich conceding more. What has been the reason for such a shaky back line in this campaign?
With injuries we have not been able to keep a committed central pairing, this remains so. It's difficult in this league at the best of times without having to chop and change your central defensive partnership every other game as it seems to have been this season.
3. Your top scorer this year has been Will Vaulks with six goals. Is the current lack of goals up top due to the standard of striker you have, or the service to your attacking players?
If you look at our goal scoring stats, though low, they are spread through our midfielders and our main striker Michael Smith. We play 4-5-1 predominantly, and Smith has been outstanding most games in his lone role. Our problem is that we are just not clinical enough in the final third when we do carve out our goal scoring opportunities. Again, look to our budget, we can't afford to bring in that striker that gets 10+ goals a season. We may match sales fees but can never match the asked for wages.
4. Rotherham have been something of a bogey side for Millwall in the last few seasons, can you see this happening again and the Millers picking up an away win at The Den?
I hope so, but we haven't won away in this league since April 2016. We went the whole of the 16/17 season in the Championship without an away win and have yet to break our duck this season, so I would suggest the Lions are favourite for this one.
5. What type of game do you think this will be and what player(s) do Millwall need to look out for?
As mentioned previously, expect our usual 4-5-1 set up away from home. Unfortunately our 2 most creative midfielders are out injured and unlikely to make it. Hopefully we will turn up this time, unlike our outings at Bolton and Ipswich. When we do, expect lots of heart and graft and some skill. Smith is always a handful for any defence and Towell is busy in midfield, our spine of Rodak, Ajayi, Vaulks and Smith are usually solid but not sure what our defence will look like as usual, so not sure where Ajayi will play, but hope for the best.
6. What do you think the score will be?
Scoreline, hoping for a draw...lol 😉
PREDICTION: MILLWALL 2-0 Rotherham
Although both sides are bottom of the table, I think Millwall simply have too much strength in their starting eleven and bench to be too much for the Millers. The visitors will come down looking to get a result from this fixture at The Den, but I can see this being more due to optimism more than realistic expectation. A comfortable win and a clean sheet is my guess.
Come on you Lions.