It's the second of two consecutive away games this Saturday as Gary Rowett takes his Millwall side up to Derbyshire to face off against Phillip Cocu's Derby County.
There is a good feeling around all those in SE16 as the Rowett revolution continues. Having only lost once since his arrival, the Lions are on a six game unbeaten streak and the away win midweek against Bristol City just shows the away day albatross around Millwall's neck has been well and truly lifted. On the other hand, Derby County are having an underwhelming campaign so far and last year's play-off finalists have only won once since 2nd November. The arrival of Wayne Rooney at Pride Park has only increased speculation around Cocu's position, however the former England striker is only available for squad selection from next January.
It's Millwall who lead the league head-to-heads between the two sides, with the South London side being victorious 19 times compared with Derby's 14 and the points shared on 13 occasions.
Haven't we met before?...
Derby County 0-1 Millwall, Saturday 8th March 2014 – A single second half goal from Leeds United loanee Steve Morison was enough to secure the victory for Ian Holloway's Millwall and leave them two points above the relegation zone. The victory put a large dent in Derby's promotion hopes and although The Rams were the more dominant of the two teams throughout, Steve McClaren's men just couldn't get the job done.
Krystian Bielik faces a late fitness test due to a hip injury. Matt Clarke, Mason Bennett, Tom Huddlestone and Graeme Shinnie are all out and will miss this clash.
Jason McCarthy, Tom Elliott, Ryan Leonard and Frank Fielding 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 from his long term injury.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
What can be said that hasn't been already about the young Irish midfielder? Since arriving on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, Molumby has been virtually an ever present and his no-nonsense attitude combined with his skill on the ball make him one of the most exciting midfielders the club has had for years. As well as combining well with Shaun Williams and Ben Thompson, Molumby is a fantastic player who brilliantly links up the defence and forward line when Millwall attack, yet he's one of the first to chase back when the Lions lose possession. A key player who has a huge future in the game, Molumby has the potential to dominate both the middle of the park and the game as a whole if he keeps his good form up.
WHO ARE YA?
For this week's 'Who Are Ya?', we sit down with the Derby County Blog. This week we ask how they think the season is going so far, how important is Martyn Waghorn to The Rams, who Millwall need to look out for and what they think the score will be.
1. Compared to last season, this year has been rather underwhelming for The Rams. How do you think the season is going?
You summed it up yourself in a word… Underwhelming. We haven’t played well and it’s hard to make a case that we deserve to be any higher in the league than we are. Everyone is really disappointed with how things have gone so far, not least Phillip Cocu, I’m sure.
2. You have scored on average a goal a game at the moment, but have conceded 27. Has it been the defence that’s been the issue this season?
No, it’s primarily the attack. Cocu’s side have struggled to create chances on a regular basis and we’re now one of the lowest-scoring teams in the division - despite having three very good Championship strikers to choose from.
Cocu has favoured a one-striker system, which doesn’t suit our most dangerous poacher, Jack Marriott - and to be honest, the team hasn’t functioned well at all in the majority of games.
3. Tell us more about your blog, what can the readers get from your work?
I try to strike a balance between writing from the standpoint of a passionate fan, while bringing journalistic rigour and proper research and doing my best to avoid the mindless cliches which dog so much of football writing and broadcasting. I follow the evidence and feel it’s my duty to (constructively) criticise the club if I feel like they have got things wrong, on or off the field. So I hope that anybody who reads my stuff or listens to the Derby County BlogCast feels like they are getting a considered take on what is going on and not just a kneejerk, or blindly partisan reaction.
That said, I can definitely be found blowing off steam on Twitter with the best of them after a defeat!
4. Former Millwall loanee Martyn Waghorn is your top goal scorer at the moment. How important is he for you?
He’s one of our key goal threats and while I don’t think he is regarded as highly as Chris Martin or Jack Marriott by the fans, he leads the team for shots on target and shots in the box per 90 minutes this season. Cocu has used him as a wide attacker at times, which has been more a case of asking him to ‘do a job’ than putting him into a position where we see the best of him.
5. How is this fixture being viewed by Derby fans?
As a must-win. Particularly because it involves the return of Gary Rowett, this is a spicy fixture in the eyes of the fans. We know how much Rowett would love beating us, or even annoying us by drawing, we know what to expect from a Rowett team and are desperate to avoid the fate of being ‘shit-housed’. On top of that, Cocu badly needs a home win, given that his side’s away form has become embarrassing.
If it goes 0-1 Millwall, this game could become a nightmare for Derby, so the first goal feels like it could be extremely important.
6. Which player(s) do Millwall need to look out for?
Marriott is a danger, but is normally used as a sub by Cocu, who favours a striker with better hold-up play and tends to start with Martin or Waghorn. If players are prepared to get up alongside Martin and run past him, then he will set them up with chances, but this has been a problem in Derby’s formation, which has been too static and lacked runners into the penalty area. Young box-to-box midfielder Jason Knight started against Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night and may get the chance to play again.
7. What do you think the score will be?
Millwall tend to score and concede, but Derby have a good defensive record at Pride Park. I would take a scrappy 1-0 Derby now, however it came. If we perform as we did in the first half against Wednesday in the week, then we have no chance, but if we can replicate the more aggressive attitude shown in the second half against the Owls, then I would back us to win the game.
PREDICTION: DERBY COUNTY 0-2 MILLWALL
The home side come into this game winless in the last four and have only scored two goals in those previous fixtures. Millwall are currently scoring goals for fun, so will will find the back of the net in this one and although the defence can be leaky, the lack of firepower from Derby will mean that Bialkowski's sheet will remain clean. I can see the three points coming home with the side from Zampa Road.
Come on you Lions.