It's the first of two consecutive away games this week as Gary Rowett takes his Millwall side down the M4 to face Lee Johnson's high-flying Bristol City.
Although Millwall are unbeaten in their previous five games, the Lions have not won since the away victory against Swansea on the 23rd November, and have recorded three consecutive score draws against Wigan Athletic, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest respectively. Aside from the 4-1 away defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion at the end of November, the home side have been in great form and their 5-2 and 2-1 wins against Huddersfield Town and Fulham respectively, have seen City climb the table to fourth place.
The league head-to-heads are all in the 30s, with Bristol City's 33 wins slightly edging Millwall's 30 and the points shared on 31 occassions. Both sides have a tendency to score goals, but both also have a lot in the goals against column too, so expect a high scoring affair in the West Country.
Haven't we met before?...
Bristol City 0-3 Millwall, Saturday 7th August 2010 – Kenny Jackett's men received rave reviews following their first game back in the Npower Championship and demolished Bristol City on the opening day. Even experienced, former England international David James could not keep out an in form Millwall and goals from Darren Ward, Danny Schofield and Paul Robinson saw the Lions finish the weekend in second place.
Tomas Kalas faces a late fitness test to be ready for this game, but Jay DaSilva remains out of this clash.
Jason McCarthy, Tom Elliott, Ryan Leonard, Frank Fielding and Shaun Hutchinson are currently keeping the Millwall physios busy, but one player who is back in contention to make the squad is Shane Ferguson, who may return in turn from his long term injury.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Millwall's wide man is the creative spark where the vast majority of the Lions attacks originate from. Quite simply, when Wallace is on his day and in form, he is totally unplayable. Along with Tom Bradshaw, he is the joint top goalscorer at the club this season with seven goals, but his assists are vital to the South London club and he has five of these to his name also. With rumours flying around that he may be on his way to the Premier League in January, many will be questioning whether Gary Rowett will be able to keep hold of the star man if Aston Villa come calling.
WHO ARE YA?
This week, we sit down with The Exiled Robin, a Bristol City supporter living in Wales. This week, we ask how the season is going so far, why are they scoring and conceding so many goals, who Millwall need to look out for and what the score will be.
1. Fourth in the table and only a couple of wins off the automatic promotion places. How is it going at Ashton Gate this season?
Yes, it's all very good! It's a crazily tight league and it's mad to think that just two games ago we'd come off the back of failing to beat a 10-man Forest at home and then being hammered 4-1 by West Brom, and there were murmurings of discontent and we were closer to 17th than a promotion spot. Two great wins later and everything seems rosy again.
2. You have nine wins and eight draws from twenty games, what do you think has been the secret to your success in this campaign?
Those stats tell the story really - we don't lose often! We're pretty well-organised usually, and despite everyone at the club thinking we need a new striker in January, are actually the league's second-highest scorers. We've now got depth of cover in the squad which has shown through. We spent most of September and October with six first-choice players out injured. Three are actually still out including record-signing Tomas Kalas and the aforementioned striker in Benik Afobe, but the guys that came in did a good enough job to keep us in touch and we're starting to show now what we can do with something closer to a first-choice team.
3. You are the second highest top scorers in the league, but you have conceded 28, which is amongst those in the bottom half of the table. What has been the reason for such inconsistencies, do you think?
Yes, it's a bit of a strange one, because I think most fans would say we're a hard-working, fairly well-organised team who often struggle to break teams down and score enough goals - yet the stats show the complete opposite of that! The injuries have certainly played a part, having spent most of the season without Kalas and Jay Dasilva at the back, Adam Nagy and Korey Smith have been missing from the central midfield shield in front, and Benik Afobe's injury was critical. If you actually look at our goal-scoring record, until last week's demolition of Huddersfield it was actually heavily weighted towards when Afobe played his handful of matches.
4. Andreas Weimann, Famara Diedhiou and Josh Brownhill are your top three goal scorers with 18 goals between them. Just how important are these three to you and do you think there’s a chance some could come in for them in January?
Yes, they're all key in their own very different ways. We don't have that 20-25 goal striker so it's important everyone weighs in. Brownhill is the obvious target for Premier League sides and I think if we don't go up this season then he'll probably be given his shot at the big time, but having sold £40m worth of players in the summer we have no need to sell and I can't see a transfer for our captain being sanctioned at such a crucial stage.
5. Bristol City have only beaten Millwall twice in the last ten meetings. How do the Robins and their fans view the Lions?
Under Lee Johnson we've typically done well against football-playing sides, however good they are (like Fulham who we always beat) but have struggled aginst some of the more 'robust' teams. Teams that are often scrapping down near the bottom, those without a star player or two who really pull together and are hard to beat - they seem to be our downfall and Johnson's teams seem to struggle aginst physicality. Saying that we've added experience into our backline and hopefully a bit more resilience.
6. Which player(s) do Millwall need to look out for?
We've not got many stars and the last two games have been brilliant team performances, but the two names I'll pick out are Niclas Eliasson and Han-Noah Massengo. The former has eight assists from only five starts and plenty as sub. He'll hug the touchlines and get crosses in - he's crossing a ball as well as anyone I can remember at the club right now. Massengo, meanwhile, is fast-becoming the worst-kept secret in the league. He played for Monaco in the Champions League last year at the age of 17 and I think most City fans are resigned to the fact we'll only see him in a City shirt for 12-18 months before one of the big clubs comes in for him.
7. What do you think the score will be?
A week ago I'd have said a 1-1 draw as you're the sort of team, in the sort of position, that we struggle to break down typically, but the last two wins have given me renewed confidence so I'll go for a 2-0 home win on this occasion.
PREDICTION: BRISTOL CITY 2-2 MILLWALL
With the amount of goals scored and conceded by the two teams, this will not be a game that will see either side keep a clean sheet. Millwall will still be searching for a victory and I can't see the Lions being defeated, but perhaps that next win will be at Pride Park this weekend at Derby. A high scoring score draw for me in this one.
Come on you Lions.