It’s another away day travel for Neil Harris and his Millwall side as they make the short trip up to Kenilworth Road to face recently promoted Luton Town.
Considering their recent issues over the past few years on and off the pitch, The Hatters’ start to the Championship has been a respectable one and they currently find themselves in 17th place in the table. Luton have also scored an impressive 14 goals in the league so far, which is more than what second place Swansea City have managed, and these have resulted in wins against the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield Town and Barnsley. Millwall on the other hand are in a bad run of form and although they picked up a 1-1 away draw at Huddersfield Town last weekend, Neil Harris will be eager to get the three points on the board and climb away from the second tier drop zone.
The league head-to-heads between the two sides swings in Millwall’s favour, with the Lions recording 26 wins compared with Luton’s 20 and 24 draws. The last time the two sides met in the Championship saw the South London side run out 2-1 winners and Neil Harris will be hoping for a similar result.
Haven't we met before?...
Luton Town 1-1 Millwall, Tuesday 26th February 2008 – With both teams struggling for form and goals, this wasn’t one for the purists and it was the home side who struck first in the 19th minute with a goal from Paul Furlong. The lead was not to last long as an equaliser only 20 minutes later from young forward Lewis Grabban brought the first half level. With no goals in the second half, this rearranged fixture ended all square and with a valuable point for Kenny Jackett’s side.
Luton boast a full squad to choose from and both Andrew Shinnie and Martin Crannie have returned to training after recent absences.
Along with long-term injured duo Frank Fielding and Jiri Skalak, Shane Ferguson will be missing from the Millwall squad due to his red card against Huddersfield and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson looks set to miss this one due to illness.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Although he is a player with unquestioned talent and gave it his all, it never really worked for the midfielder during his time in South London and he is now getting the game time he is craving. Very much a Steady Eddie who has done well since his move to Luton, Tunnicliffe will be keen to prove a point to the side who released him in the summer.
WHO ARE YA?
For this weeks 'Who are ya?' we sit down with Kevin Crowe, a writer who started to write for The Hatters when they were in the Conference. This week we ask Kevin what he thinks of his team's start, how has Ryan Tunnicliffe settled since his move and what he thinks the score will be.
1. It’s been a steady start for The Hatters after your return to the Championship. 17th place at the moment - how do you think the season has started?
None of us were really expecting to come up last season so in theory it’s a bit of a free hit. But having got a few wins under our belt now it’s clear we’re competitive at this level, so who knows. We’ve got a new manager and sold two key players to the Prem in Justin (Leicester) and Stacey (Bournemouth), so even though the second tier is probably where the club belongs, survival would do us this time.
2. It’s no secret that there have been a few lows over the past few years and you had a recent spell in the non-leagues not too long ago, but do you now feel like everything has settled and you can really build to the future?
It’s important to remember that nothing in the last decade or so happened to Luton by accident. We fell victim to the type of owners that are currently taking other clubs to the brink, and in terms of modern football governance we were very much seen as the dispensable canary to shove down that particularly shitty mine, receiving 40 points in deductions for the type of infringement that Man City would shrug off with a meekly worded email today. We fought to get the club back in our hands and paid a price, but it was more than worth it.
The current owners are a consortium of fans named 2020, who took over in 2008 with the stated aim of a return to the Championship and a new ground by that deadline. So with last season’s promotion being accompanied by planning permission for a new ground and with Kenilworth Rd bursting at the seams you could say the club’s never been on a better footing.
3. You have had three wins in the last five games and have scored a respectful 14 goals so far, but you have also conceded 17. Why are your forward and back lines so hot and cold?
The main difference between League One and the Champ is that every single error is punished. We started like a hungover Sunday League side at QPR the other week and were three down after 20 mins.
We’re playing a new system, with new full backs and one of these ball playing keepers you get these days, but it looks like it’ll settle. We’ll always get goals at the other end with Collins, who is showing he’s one of the best finishers in this league already.
4. You write about Luton Town, tell us more about your work?
I write an increasingly sporadic blog called http://leftmidfield.blogspot.com, which featured in the programme for a few years. I started it when we went down to the Conference and was just an attempt to get across some of the romance and glamour of going to Dartford (a) and connecting it to my life supporting the Town before it went a bit west. It’s fairly soppy fare to be fair, so I chuck in the odd fuck to keep it light.
5. Former Lion, Ryan Tunnicliffe is now at Kenilworth Road after signing in the summer. The midfielder was a bit marmite at The Den, how has he fared for Luton?
He’s been the constant in a pretty inconsistent midfield. Without pulling up too many trees he seems decent and popular in the stands as it stands.
6. These games have always had a bit of spice to them, what can we expect from Luton v Millwall on a midweek evening?
Lots and lots of overtime for the local constabulary I imagine, which seems increasingly daft given these games have tended to pass without much agg in recent years.
Night games under the lights at our beautiful old Kenilworth Road are unique and something that football will be worse without in a few years time. Given the years of Gateshead and Crawley we buzz off a lively away end and Millwall are a load of bankers in that respect. So should be alright.
7. What do you think the score will be?
PREDICTION: LUTON 1-1 MILLWALL
Millwall's form isn't great at the moment and Luton's is erratic, so anything can happen in this one. The Hatters seem to score goals for fun, but they are as leaky as the Titanic's hull after it hit the famous iceberg. It may not be a pretty game, but I can see a score draw in this one.
Come on you Lions.