It’s a London derby this week at The Den as Mark Warburton brings his high-flying Queens Park Ranger across the city to face Neil Harris’ Millwall side in South Bermondsey.
After some whispers that they would be nearer the foot of the table, QPR have actually had a good start to the 2019/20 season and find themselves in a respectful 7th place with 13 points. Their recent run has seen the Hoops win their last three league games and they go into this fixture full of confidence. On the other hand, Millwall are desperate for a win after their disappointing 2-0 away defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers and Neil Harris will want nothing more than a strong, Millwall-type performance that will get the Lions back up the table.
The league head-to-heads between the two see Millwall the more dominant team with 29 wins to QPR’s 17 and 22 draws. QPR have not beaten the Lions at The Den in the league since 1990, so Neil Harris will be eager to ensure that this run continues.
Haven't we met before?...
Millwall 0-0 QPR, Wednesday 10th April 2019 - Both had experienced a lacklustre season and both needed the win to edge away from the Championship trap door and although both sides huffed and puffed at both ends, neither side could do enough to break the deadlock and the result left both still nervously looking over their shoulders at the division's bottom three.
Frank Fielding still is Millwall’s long-term injury and he is joined in the treatment room with Jiri Skalak. With the game at Ewood Park indicating some of the squad needs changing to freshen things up, the likes of Shaun Hutchinson, Tom Bradshaw and Matt Smith who were all on the bench for that game will be looking for a recall.
QPR will keep the same team that has been so successful in previous weeks, although Angel Rangel will be pushing for a place in the match-day squad after recovering from his recent injury.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
The former Leeds United hitman joined the Lions in the summer of 2019 from this weekend’s opponents and even though he only has two goals to his name so far in this campaign, Matt Smith’s work on and off the ball along with his hold up play has already made him a favourite with the Millwall fans. After not starting the most recent league game, Smith will be itching to get back on the pitch and hopefully add to his goal tally in front of the home crowd.
WHO ARE YA?
For this weeks 'Who are ya?' we sit down Simon Skinner from QPRnet, a site dedicated to news, match reports and random opinions for everything QPR. This week we ask Simon how he thinks the start of the season has gone, what QPRnet is and how it started, his view of Mark Warburton and what he thinks the score will be.
1. Four wins and one draw from your first seven games - it’s been a good start for QPR hasn’t it?
It has! It has taken everyone by surprise to be honest. With the huge number of ins and outs in the squad and with a new manager people feared the worst, I predicted us for a bottom three finish myself!
What we have found though is a group of players that have bought into what the manager wants to do and to a large degree, have managed to execute it. We are now playing a mainly possession based game with a real threat at the top end of the pitch. Some of the football has been mesmerising at times. We do retain the ability to shoot ourselves in the foot on a regular basis though so that keeps expectations in check.
2. There has been a bit of turmoil in recent seasons at Loftus Road, but with an experienced manager like Mark Warburton in charge, this should stabilise the ship. What are the fans’ views on the manager?
During the period after we binned McClaren we were linked with all sorts of dross and Warburton seemed like the best of what was on offer. He talks a very good game and so far has managed to bring those words to fruition.
It is fair to say that at the moment, he is about as popular as he could be. If he keeps the team playing like they are then he won’t go far wrong.
3. Out of these opening seven you have scored 12, but conceded 11. You have a great strike rate but are leaking goals, do you think this trend will continue all season?
We have given away some daft goals and we concede a huge number of pens! The Luton opener is a case in point, we went from tearing them to pieces to suddenly becoming very nervous off the back of a misplaced pass when overplaying at the back.
I can see the trend continuing as Warburton wants his players to be brave on the ball, and sometimes that ends up as a bit of a fools errand. I think Richard “Keysy” Keys would label us “The Entertainers”! Would be nice to pick up a few clean sheets though!
4. Tell us more about your group QPR net, what is it you are trying to do for the fans?
It started off in 2001 as a fans website and ran as that for about 14 years offering match reports and articles written by a couple of people. We then moved to being solely Twitter based and now provide in game match updates whenever we can, putting our own slant on things rather than the rather vanilla official feed views, and other general nonsense!
5. Recent meetings at The Den have been tasty affairs and there is a bit of a friendly rivalry between the fans, can you see this game being a repeat of that?
Rangers have rather turned up and rolled over at Millwall in recent years. Holloway and his nonsense getting off the bus didn’t help matters on that occasion!
The atmosphere at The Den is always lively and there is a decent Rangers following attending so hopefully there’ll be a decent Rangers display to go along with it!
6. Who do Millwall need to look out for?
Depending on how we line up, three centre halves has been the order of the day in recent games, then we will be able to get a pretty potent attacking quartet in the side with Nakhi Wells, Jordan Hugill, Ilias Chair and former Millwall youngster Ebere Eze.
Eze was in sensational form against Luton last week, the best I’ve ever seen him play for Rangers. He’d been away with England U21s and seemed to be brimming with confidence. He scoring and making goals and working his socks off for the team.
Toni Leistner will also be important if you play big Matt Smith up top.
7. What do you think the score will be?
I fancy a score draw. I’ll go 2-2.
PREDICTION: MILLWALL 1-1 QPR
The home crowd will be buzzing for this game and the adrenaline levels for those in Zampa Road will be sky high, but QPR are proving themselves to be a well organised machine and will be a tough nut to crack. I can see Millwall scoring and taking the lead, but I think this will be a real challenge for the home side and it’ll finish as a score draw.
Come on you Lions.