FORM: After your much valued ‘hating’ (as someone put it) last week, saying I don’t watch enough of the team we’re facing, I’ve decided to take that on board and this past week I’ve spent every waking hour watching every Millwall season review Betamax/VHS/DVD from 1978 – 2017. Let nobody ever say that I don’t put research into these things. What I’m trying to say is, let’s hope Teddy Sheringham gets the flu or something, because my word, that guy can bang them in, Alex Rae too. On a more recent note, Millwall come into this game having not lost in the league since New Year’s Day, a run that’s almost as impressive as ours. Last time out, they put in a spirited performance against an equally impressive Sheffield United side, with veteran Steve Morrison grabbing the goal.
FORMATION: Neil Harris has been watching a little bit too much Dave Bassett because Millwall lines up in the oh so traditional 4–4–f**king 2. This bodes well for us, as we should be able to outnumber them in midfield and take control of the game from there.
DANGERMAN: I really, really, REALLY want to put Ryan Tunnicliffe in this part, honestly I do, as I always thought he got a bit of a rough ride at Fulham and could have fit into our current system quite well. However, there is one more ex-Fulham player to watch out for and that’s Millwall’s vice-captain Shaun Hutchinson, another player who I thought showed some potential. A shout out does go to Shane Ferguson, who has one of the best left feet in the division and will cause havoc from set pieces.
HEAD TO HEAD:
- This is the 20th season in which Fulham and Millwall have met in the same division – Fulham have won 16, Millwall have won 12 and there have been 11 draws.
- Having previously met on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday – the latter including English football’s first ever Sunday match in 1974 – Fulham and Millwall now play each other on a Friday for the first time in history.
- There has been 1 goal or less scored in 4 of the last 5 meetings between the clubs.
- Fulham are unbeaten at the New Den (W1, D2) and have not lost on their last 4 trips to Millwall since a 4-3 defeat at the Den in April 1982.
- Current manager Neil Harris and current player Tim Cahill were both in the home side the last time Fulham won at Millwall in October 1998 – former Fulham boss Kit Symons headed the only goal in the 89th minute.
OPPOSING VIEW: (@JRBellefontaine)
What’s gone right for Millwall? The first half of the season went as expected, keeping above the relegation zone with wins here and there but then after a whirlwind 4-3 win at Leeds everything clicked. 17 games later we are unbeaten since New Years Day and in the playoff positions. Who would have thought it? Noone! Every pundit had us to go down, every bookmaker had us to go down, every opposition fan had us to go down. Neil Harris has built a team, with the third smallest budget in the league, that works incredibly as a team and as he puts it, plays players who are “ready to go to war”. A style of football that gets it instantly from the back right up and into the net. You look at the stats and although the other teams dominate in possession they have been unable to do anything with it but as soon as we get it back we look dangerous. We have scored four goals in the first minute this season using this direct approach. No other team in any league has managed that more than once this season. Its been an incredible season, and a joy to watch. Neil Harris has worked wonders in his first season as a Championship manager.
What’s gone wrong for Millwall? This will be quick. Not much. The first half of the season we had to grow into championship life. We were holding our own against other teams but struggled to score. We also couldn’t win away. Up until that Leeds game, we hadn’t won all season. But we put that right by matching a record 6 wins away on the trot.
Prediction? This game is huge. Especially after Brentford’s last minute goal. Both teams have a massive prize to play for not to mention an unbeaten record to upstand. It’s a sell out at The Den, under the lights on a Friday night, the place will be rocking. I am being biased, I’m going for 2-0 Millwall. However, if Fulham can keep the fans quiet (good luck with that) and not let the occasion get the best of them their quality could be enough to see us off.
PREDICTION: The Den v The Team. I’m going to roll these two topics into one for this game. As pointed out above, we really need to make sure the crowd does not play a factor on Friday night. If we are playing anything below 100%, then it could be a VERY long night. As I said against Brentford, the atmosphere definitely makes a difference and on a night where Millwall can take a huge step forward in the playoff race, that crowd will be raucous. It is imperative that Slav keeps the players calm, and if possible go on the attack from the off. If we can get a goal in the first ten minutes & keep the crowd quiet, we should do OK. If however, we fall behind early I think our unbeaten run could come to an end.
Millwall 1 – 2 Fulham