It is Oxford United in the second round of the Carabao Cup for Millwall as Neil Harris takes his side to the Kassam Stadium for this midweek fixture.
Aside from the 4-0 away defeat at Fulham last week, Millwall’s start to the season has been respectable and they showed that the humbling at Craven Cottage was a one off when they secured a draw against Middlesbrough last weekend. Oxford have had a shaky start to the season and although they have played well in large parts of the campaign, The U’s only have one win in League One to their name.
The cup results recently have seen Millwall defeat West Bromwich Albion away and Oxford United beating Peterborough, but with a cup competition that isn’t the highest on either team’s priority list, don’t be surprised if there are a few rotations in the squad.
Haven't we met before?...
Tuesday 2nd February 2016, Oxford United 0-1 Millwall - After a 2-0 defeat against the U’s in the first leg at The Den, Neil Harris’ side were desperately looking for a positive and goal filled result to progress to the next round of the Johnstone Paint Trophy. A strong side featuring the likes of Jordan Archer, Mark Beevers, Jimmy Abdou and Lee Gregory huffed and puffed in this game, but only scoring the one goal meant defeat over the two legs and elimination from the cup.
Karl Robinson will be looking more towards the fixture with Coventry at the weekend in the league than this game, but he has stated in the press this is a fixture he will put a strong side out for. Two players who will certainly miss out are Matty Taylor and Cameron Brannagan, with both picking up groin injuries against Bristol Rovers.
Millwall's main injury concern is that of new signing Frank Fielding, who has injured his quad muscle and faces a long time out on the sidelines. Luke Steele has been signed on loan as his replacement and should start for the Lions, and players such as Shaun Hutchinson, Jon Daoi Bodvarrson and Ryan Leonard will be pushing to play the full 90 minutes. After a summer where it seemed he would be surplus to requirements, Tom Elliott will be getting some minutes in the legs and he will use this as a fixture to kick start his season.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Tom Elliott hasn’t had the greatest of spells in South Bermondsey and although he has at times got goals and shown glimpses of what he can do, it hasn’t really worked for him in Zampa Road and there have been whispers he could be on the way out. With Neil Harris stating that Elliott may be available for selection and with all of the recent comments made regarding his future, there may also be a few League One manager who will be looking at the striker also....
WHO ARE YA?
For this weeks 'Who are ya?' we sit down with Jem Faulkner, the Chair of the Trustees at Oxford United in the Community and OxVox member. This week we asked Jem how has the season started for The U's, what the fans views are with the likes of Bolton and Bury and what he thinks the score will be.
1. It’s not been the best of starts for Oxford at the moment and you have only registered one league win so far. How do you think the team are performing?
We actually played some great stuff for the first couple of games, but defensively we shot ourselves on the foot at home to Burton and away at Bristol Rovers. We are notoriously slow starters and this season has been true to form!
2. Lets be honest though, what on Earth is happening in League One and with a team meant to be competing against the likes of Bolton and Bury, what is the view of fans of teams in the third tier?
I genuinely believe we have a team capable of doing very well. We just need the significant number of (talented) new recruits to properly gel.
3. You beat Peterborough in the previous round, do you think you may be able to replicate this and get a Championship scalp?
I think EVERY clubs fans need to be taking note of what’s unfolding at Bury and Bolton. It’s always the fans that suffer most and the EFL (in my view) need to get their act together and monitor the financial status of ALL clubs. The disparity between the top and the rest of us has never been as great as it is now and a serious review of football in this country is needed. Clubs are a crucial part of our communities. I feel for the fans Bury and Bolton - hopefully all works out for them.
4. Cameron Brannagan is your top scorer so far? How is the young man taking to life at the Kassam?
Cameron has been our stand out player so far this season and has continued the great form he showed at the end of last season.
5. James Henry is a former Millwall man who now plays for United. How has the former Lion played since joining you?
James Henry continues to be an important player for us and is a classy passer who also chips in with important goals.
6. Which players do Millwall need to look out for?
We have a number of very good players. Very strong and skilful midfield and, if he plays, Matt Taylor is always capable of a goal (or 2!)
7. What do you think the score will be?
Score? I think OUFC will win 2-1.
PREDICTION: OXFORD UNITED 0-2 MILLWALL
Although anything can happen in the cup and this will be two teams who may not have the more popular names on the team sheet, Millwall’s squad should have too much for Oxford United so I will go with a 2-0 away win for Neil Harris and progression to the next round.
Come on you Lions.