Category Archives: Millwall

Championship Preview: Cardiff City V Millwall

Millwall will travel to Cardiff on Saturday in the Championship. Mick McCarthy will come up against his former club in his first home game for Cardiff. The Bluebirds came from two behind on Wednesday, to rescue a draw at Barnsley. A result which stopped a run of six defeats. Millwall drew with promotion chasing Watford on Tuesday.

Both sides have 30 points so far this season with Cardiff being 15th and Millwall 16th. Cardiff are above on goal difference. Cardiff’s draw on Tuesday comes after the team suffered six defeats. Millwall beat Huddersfield 1-0 on their last away game, with former Cardiff defender Scott Malone getting the goal.

Recent Meetings

The last six meetings between the sides have ended in draws. Last season saw a 1-1 draw at Cardiff City Stadium, Aden Flint scoring for City with Jed Wallace scoring for the Lions. The teams met earlier this season at The Den, the game ending 1-1. Matt Smith gave Millwall the lead after 35 minutes, before Kieffer Moore levelled the game on 79 minutes.

Team News

Junior Hoilett has been ruled out after tightening up after the Barnsley game but will be in contention for next weekends Seven-side derby. Joe Bennett who missed the Barnsley match is available. Lee Tomlin will be back training in a couple of weeks, with McCarthy targeting a return around February 20th. Osei-Tutu is still five to six away from making a return.

Connor Mahoney and Billy Mitchell will likely miss the trip to Cardiff. The pair are still working on returning to full fitness after injuries. Defender Murray Wallace will miss the Cardiff game. Former Cardiff forward Kenneth Zohore could start against his former team.

Managers Thoughts

Mick McCarthy is set to take charge of Cardiff at home for the first time and was asked about playing his first game without fans:

“I’ve said in my programme notes that I’m delighted to be here. I’ve always admired the club, but I didn’t realise how big a club it is. Whenever I’ve come down, it’s always been a great atmosphere.”

McCarthy also shared his views on his previous club,

“Millwall is a club still very close to my heart. I am still very much in the vicinity of Millwall support. I have loads of pals that still support them. If I’m not playing against them I want them to do well, but if I am playing against them, I obviously want to win. They’re not getting beat on a regular basis, so they’re a tough nut to crack.”

After seeing his players in match action for the first time McCarthy said,

“You’re always learning something. No experience is wasted.

“I guess when you’ve lost seven on the bounce. People question the desire and fight. That was evident against Barnsley. I’ve rarely been in a game as hard fought and ferocious as that. Wasn’t one for the purists I have to be honest. It just showed to me that there’s plenty of fight in these lads. If you don’t stand up to that kind of assault on Wednesday, I admire Barnsley for the way they went about it, and they worked their socks off. To get a draw is a very good point.”

Millwall manager Gary Rowett, meanwhile, wants his side to keep improving:

“We were sat last season mid-table and we managed to finish eighth,”

Rowett said:

“And at no time was our focus on, ‘we have to finish in the play-offs’, it was purely about remaining competitive and pushing towards the top parts of the division.

“I think we’re the same now. We’re disappointed with our first half of the season and we want to improve. We don’t want to be where we are, but at the same time we’re respectful that it’s a unique season.

“There are a lot of good sides in the division.

“We’ve got to just accept that we are where we are and we’ve got to improve. That’s our aim.

“If improving means starting to climb the table then we’ll see where that takes us.

“I’d like us to get ourselves back into a better position. If performances result in that then fantastic.”

Key Players

Cardiff will look to top scorer Keiffer Moore who netted his ninth goal of the season at Barnsley. Cardiff have not lost a game when Keiffer Moore has scored. Moore wins an average of 11 aerials a game allowing a direct route from defence to attack. He is ranked number two in the division according to whoscored.com with a rating of 7.57

Stopping Moore will be a difficult task but Lions defender Jake Cooper could be the key to stopping him. Having a whoscored.com rating of 7.13 the defender has an average of 5 aerial wins per match.

Prediction; Cardiff 1 v 1 Millwall

Both sides are on the same points and neither is in flying form. History is with the draw, the side have mostly drawn over the years. There have been 28 draws, with Cardiff winning 21 times to Millwall’s 20. Just in the last ten years there have been nine draws. This is not a game for the football purists.

millwall v Cardiff city preview: return to the LIONS den

Neil Harris returns to former club Millwall this weekend for the first time since leaving in October 2019. Harris enjoyed a successful period in London as both a player and manager. As a player he is Millwall’s all-time record goalscorer with 138 goals across two spells at the club. He took the club into the Championship in 2017 via the play-offs.

Current Form

Millwall currently sit 9th in the Championship with 17 points having only lost two of their 11 matches. Their only defeat in the last five came in a home loss to Huddersfield by three goals to nil. With three draws in their last five they are hard to beat, but are struggling for a winning run.

Cardiff, meanwhile, have two defeats in their last three games with just one win. The Bluebirds have a habit of going behind in games, five of the last six. They often therefore start slow and have to chase games.

The last five league meetings between the sides have been draws. The last win coming for Millwall in 2014, 1-0. With current form this game is likely to be another tight affair. Since 1999 the sides have drawn 11 times.

Team News

Former Cardiff striker Kenneth Zohore will miss the game against his former club with a ankle injury. Midfielder Shane Ferguson is doubtful following being withdrawn after 36 minutes during Northern Ireland’s defeat to Austria. Forward Troy Parrott could return to the squad. He played 45 minutes for the Republic of Ireland under 21’s on Sunday. He also made a brief cameo for the senior side on Wednesday.

Cardiff will be without Lee Tomlin until mid January. Tomlin has had surgery on an ongoing groin issue. Full back Greg Cunningham meanwhile is back in training but this game may come too soon for him. Full back Jordi Osei-Tutu will also be out for at least four weeks, so Cardiff will likely have to play Leandro Bacuna at right back.

Managers Thoughts

Millwall manager Gary Rowett has been glad of the break telling London news Online:

“I’m glad to be going into it [the Cardiff match] off the back of a little bit of a breather. It allows us the chance to at least feel fresh.

“It’s going to be a challenge for the players, just because Cardiff are a good side and it’s Neil and Livers [David Livermore] coming back – their old management team. There’s always that strangeness to it.

“Cardiff are good at what they do. They are trying to play a little bit more but they also have an obvious physical threat that you’ve got to try and deal with.

“They’ve got players like [Harry] Wilson and [Marlon] Pack in there, technical players who move the ball well. It’s a balanced team, like we are.”

The Millwall also boss spoke about his sides home form and how it needs to improve:

“We need to start delivering more wins at home and this is the first one of a group of games which are a tough run. We’ve got a tough-looking run of fixtures over the next period. But the Championship is like that anyway. You’ve got to do your best and try and win it.

“I know Cardiff have maybe not started quite as well as they’d like but that is the same for many teams in the division.”

Neil Harris was asked about his connections to Millwall and how it was disappointing that no fan’s would be at The Den:

Every game is a shame without fans but I understand a Millwall connection. It can work with me or against me. It’s a game of football at the weekend that we want to win.

A lot of similarities in the passion of the fan bases (cardiff and Millwall). Cardiff City Stadium, big games I’ve played there and managed and the fans can be the turning point and I’m sure they would have been a couple of Fridays ago.

The same can be said of Millwall, the fans get behind them and can really spur you on

The Cardiff manager also spoke about the buzz from the returning Welsh players, (Harry Wilson and Kieffer Moore who both scored in Wales’ 3-1 win over Finland):

Yeah! Definitely! Harry and Kieffer have come back into the building with a buzz, Mark Harris, too. (Mark Harris scored for Wales under 21’s)

It lifts the group, lifts our fan base going into Saturday. We feel it and I’m sure the whole of Cardiff City does.

One of Neil Harris’ objectives at Cardiff is to improve the Academy and bring though more youth players. He spoke about his younger players stepping up recently:

Friday was one of the first times we had all the Under-23s, Under-18s, some younger as well, training with us. It was fantastic. It was so good to see. We are a football club that wants to move forward by promoting young players.

We have got to be patient, as I keep saying, but we’ve got some very talented 15, 16 and 17-year-olds that, as soon as they are good enough, I don’t care how old they are, they are in the group.

We have had lads out of school, training with the first team. That’s where we are at, that’s because we believe in good young players coming through.

But that has to run parallel with getting results on a Saturday.

Key Players

For Millwall it is Jed Wallace, who has four goals so far, playing on the right of Millwall’s attacking from three. Speaking ahead of the game about his sides form”

Ultimately it is down to the players, especially myself, to take more responsibility at key moments. We need to show more quality, at times, to turn those 0-0s into 1-0 wins. We don’t need to change too much, we’re doing really, really well.”

For Cardiff they’ll be hoping Harry Wilson carries on from his display for Wales on Wednesday night. It was a stellar performance that even earned praise from Manchester United legend Roy Keane who stated that Wilson’s goal was “outstanding”.

Prediction: Millwall 1-1 Cardiff City

Without any fans at the Den to boost two sides fighting for form, and given recent history this game will only be a draw.

Analysis of the Championship Run-in

Championship fans up and down the country were today (June 8) given a huge boost of excitement with the EFL announcing the restart schedule released – along with confirmed TV selections.

The journey will continue for Sky Bet Championship clubs with the action kicking off again on Saturday 20 June. They couldn’t have gone for a juicier opening fixture with promotion contenders Fulham & Brentford clashing in front of the Sky cameras for a West London derby.

So with just nine games remaining, who is in the running for promotion and relegation? Let’s break it down and give a final prediction of what could go down starting with the relegation candidates.

We all know what gruelling and outright horrible season the Championship can be for clubs. It is 46 games of tough, physical games of football and we would usually be talking of these remaining nine games as the last hurdle, but truthfully, with the break, everyone has now had, anything could happen. Even more, than it usually does. Seriously, the Championship has become even more unpredictable – let the party begin.

Last term, 44 points renewed Millwall’s Championship status and the year before that, 43 points kept Bolton up. Yet with 27 points still up for grabs, Hull City sit one place out the drop zone on 41 points which makes you realise we could be in for a much higher points total to guarantee safety.

So who are all the teams in the relegation run-in? I suppose this is almost impossible to pinpoint with the dramatic changes this league can produce but all the way up to seventeenth spot we have Stoke City who are just three points adrift. Below them are Huddersfield, Middlesbrough Wigan and Hull. The drop zone meanwhile contains Charlton, Luton, and Barnsley.

Given the number of ridiculous results that the Championship can produce I almost feel it a pointless exercise to start analysing the run-ins that the teams have but some crucial relegation clashes are coming up – one of them being Hull vs Middlesbrough.

The Yorkshire derby (I’m sorry) has been selected for Sky coverage on Thursday 2 July and could play a pivotal part. The Tigers made a terrible gamble in January by selling their dynamic duo of Jared Bowen and Kamil Grosicki to West Ham and West Brom respectively and it’s fair to say it couldn’t have gone worse for them.

At one stage it looked like Hull might be in for a fairly stable season but since Christmas, they have picked up just eleven points from a possible forty-two, including heavy defeats in the last two outings to Leeds and Stoke.

Elsewhere, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time for Wigan Athletic who were in the form of their lives and picked up huge wins over the current top two, Leeds and West Brom. It’s a huge fight meanwhile for Barnsley, who, despite some half-decent form themselves, are still bottom of the pile and seven points adrift. Gerhard Struber has not done a bad job with the Yorkshire club but the sheer awfulness of their start to the season before he took charge in November means that it still hasn’t been enough.

Charlton Athletic have been hit with a huge blow, which has been a big talking point ahead of the restart with several players including top scorer Lyle Taylor, refusing to continue. Taylor (30) is out of contract and states his physical health as reasons for not agreeing to a temporary extension as he doesn’t want an injury to prevent him from a move next season.

Even with Taylor’s goals, Charlton are two points deep in the relegation zone and without them, you do wonder where the results are going to come from. Below the Addicks, we have Luton Town who for most of the season have just looked a little bit out of their depth. It would be a shame for Luton to go down as their epic rise, fall and rise again has been a great story. Do they, however, have enough to stay up?

Huddersfield and Stoke may be living life dangerously sitting just three points clear, but the misfortunes of Charlton and Hull I think will keep them safe enough and out of the equation. Huddersfield will, however, have crucial games against Wigan and Luton, meanwhile Stoke will have to fight off tough opposition with three of the top six still to play.

Final Prediction
21: Charlton Athletic (Survived)
22: Hull City (Relegated)
23: Barnsley (Relegated)
24: Luton Town (Relegated)

So on we go to the epic prize that is the Premier League. Once again this is going to be a tough one to predict and it really wouldn’t shock me if a team I mention in this somehow ends up in a relegation scrap. This division is mental, it really is.

With just six points separating sixth and thirteenth – don’t shoot me if I end up getting this horrifically wrong.

I reiterate that form could completely go out the window with the big break that we have had and the run-ins could make no difference whatsoever but nonetheless, we’ll start with the current top two.

Leeds and West Brom have looked the best bets for promotion for a lot of this season and six points currently separates West Brom from Fulham in third with Leeds one point ahead of Albion in first. Both have had their bad spells this season and at one point it seriously looked like both Fulham and Brentford could take up the top two spots.

Before the pandemic, however, Leeds were in tantalising form winning their last five games and conceding no goals in the process. For West Brom, it was a little more up and down drawing away to Swansea and losing at home to Wigan but the Baggies did register big wins over Preston and Bristol City before that.

With Brentford ten points behind West Brom, we have to suggest at this stage that Fulham are the main contenders to challenge the top two.

However, a reminder that Fulham do host Brentford in the first game back and an away win for the Bees could give them a very good argument that they are still in the mix. Thomas Frank’s side will then have to face West Brom immediately afterwards at home so those two games perhaps could give us a good idea?

In that same game week, Leeds will host Fulham in what could also prove to be huge. My word I have missed this barnstormer of a league!

We must also not forget Nottingham Forest who sit level with Brentford in fifth, however, since their big home win over Leeds back in February, the form for Sabri Lamouchi’s men has been very up and down. They were shocked at home to Charlton and since been well beaten in their last game at the hands of Millwall. Forest have been crying out for Premier League football even longer than Leeds but still strike me as a team that is developing under Lamouchi.

There is no doubt that Lamouchi has transformed Forest into a much better side than we have seen over the years and for that reason, in my opinion, it puts him in the running for manager of the year. Should they, however, fall short this season they’d have to be big favourites next year.

Four points behind Forest in sixth we have Preston where thankfully we can now just be talking about who is going to take that spot come July. Not that I should completely disregard Preston ploughing through everyone in nine games and go up as champions but let’s just pretend that isn’t possible. Alex Neil is another manager who has done a tremendous job this season, turning Preston from a mid-table team to a side that is mounting a promotion challenge.

They do, however, face stiff competition from Bristol City, who are just a point behind The Lilywhites, while Millwall and Cardiff are just two points adrift. Oh, but then we have Blackburn, Swansea and Derby who are also very much in contention…I give in, please no one shoot me for this prediction.

To make matters more difficult these are all teams who’s form has been very inconsistent, I mean that’s probably why they are where they are. I do make a strong case for Gary Rowett’s Millwall though, who, since Rowett’s appointment I’ve identified as dark horses for promotion.

Rowett has had a lot of talk about him since his shock departure from Birmingham as to how good a coach he is and it did not go well for him at Stoke. At the time it looked a risky decision to take the managerial role at The Den, given that the previous season Millwall had very narrowly escaped relegation and were sat in seventeenth spot at the time of his appointment.

The Lions though have lost just five league games in his 23 game tenure and with just two points separating them and Preston they do look a good bet. Bristol City meanwhile were in very bad form before lockdown and despite that potentially making no difference anymore, they aren’t a team that has struck me as one that would maintain a spot in the playoffs. I would also say similarly with Guy Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers, who have been in and around the mix for a while now and for a long time topped the form table, but ultimately I see them coming short.

Swansea and Derby are interesting ones because the Swans were at the top end of the table for a while before Christmas but a bad run of form led to their slip down the table. They are a young footballing side that given time under Steve Cooper, they could be well in the mix next season.

Derby, on the other hand, have had a very eventful season.  The signing of Wayne Rooney in January to the sacking of captain Richard Keogh. Focusing on the football, they’re a team that has tried to play out from the back under Phillip Cocu but just haven’t done it that well. Their fortunes have however recently changed and the results have started to come, which has led to them being back in the mix but I think it will be too little too late for them.

Final Prediction
1: Leeds (Promoted)
2: West Brom (Promoted)
3: Fulham
4: Brentford (Promoted via Playoffs)
5: Nottingham Forest
6: Millwall

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

Are Derby County set to make a move for this Championship striker?

Derby County once again find themselves in the Championship promotion picture and after a victory at Deepdale against Preston North End on Monday, which ended the clubs eight-game winless run Gary Rowett’s side sits fifth in the league table.

With both Fulham and Aston Villa looking comfortable for at least the playoffs this season, it’s going to be a shootout between 7 teams who make up the final two playoff spots.

One of Derby’s biggest problem in the last few games has been finding the back of the net as throughout March they only scored 3 times in 4 matches, and this is something manager Gary Rowett will want to put right if they are to get a playoff spot come May.

The ‘Rams’ completed the signing of Cameron Jerome in January to bolster their attacking options but he has only found the back of the net on 1 occasion since joining the club and with other striker Sam Winnall sidelined for the rest of the season, Jerome is going to have to step up and support leading goalscorer Matej Vydra if the club are to be successful this season.

Despite adding to his attack in January Rowett is already rumoured to be looking at adding to it this summer with the Derby Telegraph linking the club with fellow Championship striker Lee Gregory.

Lee Gregory – Having moved down south in 2014, Lee Gregory has become a fan favourite at Millwall having found the back of the net on 54 occasions for ‘The Lions’, including 10 times this season.

With the striker already been proven and established at Championship level it could be seen as a very good move for Derby as they would be getting a striker who certainly knows where the back of the net is.

Derby fans would you like to see Lee Gregory at Pride Park next season? Let us know in the comments section…