Millwall Preview – SkyBet League One

Can the Sky Blues make it two league wins in succession when they travel to The Den on Saturday? After pulling off a superb 2-0 victory over Wigan a week ago, expectation will be high, but with another of the promotion favourites providing stern opposition it has all the makings of a tough task.

Both sides come in to the game after gruelling cup ties on Tuesday night, extra-time was needed for Millwall who lost 2-1 to League Two Barnet after that period, whilst the Sky Blues’ defeat to Rochdale was decided by a penalty shootout. It’s back to league action now however and both clubs will be vying for three points.

Form…

Millwall opened their League One campaign with a 2-1 victory away at newly promoted, Shrewsbury Town. Goals from Steve Morison and Lee Gregory clinched the three points as Neil Harris’ side fought back from 1-0 down.

In the Capital One Cup first round, the Lions were dumped out by Barnet following 120 minutes of football. Four changes were made to the lineup however as some key players were rested for the weekend’s fixture.

The Sky Blues also got off to a fine start in the league as they put in an excellent performance to merit a 2-0 home victory versus Wigan Athletic. On-loan, Adam Armstrong proved to be the hero as he sealed a brace with two neat finishes to reward an organised team display.

On Tuesday night, it wasn’t to be for Mowbray’s side who fell out of the Capital One Cup following the lottery of penalties. A volley from Marcus Tudgay could’ve won the game for the Sky Blues late on in normal time but a very contentious offside call ruled it out. It turned out to be a long night, but a decent performance from a much-changed side.

Team lineups…

Millwall will have to do without Joe Martin and Aiden O’Brien as they are both ruled out with ankle problems, whilst Jimmy Abdou misses out again due to a hamstring issue. Neil Harris will be expected to name the same starting eleven that defeated Shrewsbury on the opening day.

Coventry City have a fully fit squad at their disposal for the visit to The Den. Adam Armstrong returns to the fold following his ineligibility to play in cup competitions ruling him out on Tuesday night, Conor Thomas is also available again following a spell on the injury table. One fresh face has been added in the form of Jacob Murphy and he could be welcomed in to the side of his registration is processed in time.

One to watch… Steve Morison

The striker may be instantly recognisable from his time in the Premier League with Norwich City a few seasons again, but fast-forward and he is now playing his trade in the third tier. Following a successful loan spell at The Den last season, Milwall signed the frontman for an undisclosed fee from Leeds United in the summer to make the switch permanent.

Whilst having a previous spell at Milwall, the striker showed supporters what he can do. A fair bit of pace and power , accompanied by solid technical ability, will stand him in good stead for life in League One. The 31 year old opened his goal scoring account last weekend and he’ll be hunting for more in his second league appearance.

View from the dugout…

Sky Blues boss, Tony Mowbray told Coventry Telegraph:

“They have got three points on the board and they’ll be looking to cement that and be thinking, as we will, that if you win the game on Saturday you’ll be top of the table.

“It’s always tough at the New Den where the fans can create an intimidating atmosphere and your team have to stand up to it. It will be a balanced game and the bottom line is we will have to stand up and be counted in the first 20 minutes, as with the other night when we struggled a little bit with their bombardment.

“I think it will be similar and we’ll have to ride that and get the ball and play and hopefully get on top.”


My thoughts…

With us facing one of the recently relegated sides -who are also up there in terms of favourites to win promotion – we have another tough task on our hands. Both camps will be in good spirits following their open day victories, although fatigue may hit some players after the events of Tuesday night.

When I first sat down and pondered over the fixture list for the season, I looked at our opening two games and thought ‘that’s a very difficult start, if we managed to get four points I’ll be very impressed’ – although it could be six if we play our cards right. We may struggle physically sometimes against a powerful outfit, but if we stick to our principles and keep the ball down, we have enough quality to cause them issues.

Millwall do have a very competitive squad with some players who are Championship level footballers, their aim will be promotion. After our win against Wigan, we’ve got to realise that Gary Caldwell’s side didn’t have too much experience of playing with each other, whilst Millwall have. I’m not taking anything away from our win, it was superb, I’m just saying that I expect our trip to Millwall to prove more difficult against a reasonably settled side.

My score prediction… Milwall 1-1 Coventry City

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