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What to expect from Millwall this weekend; They’ve got the hearts of lions but aren’t unbeatable

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Sunderland face a determined, physical Millwall side this weekend at the Stadium of Light. Not quite sure what to expect from Neil Harris and his players? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Queens Park Rangers v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

The story so far

Milwall are currently sitting in 19th place after a rather tepid start to the season. The London side have struggled from the off, losing on the opening day 1-0 to Nottingham Forest, and the Lions did not win until the final game of August where they hammered Norwich 4-0.

September looked to be another poor month as they lost 1-0 away to Wolverhampton. That defeat, however, was followed by a four game unbeaten run in which Millwall won two and drew two - including an impressive 1-0 home victory over high-flying Leeds United at the Den.

Neil Harris and his team picked up four points in October, their only win coming at home to lowly Birmingham City. Away from home the Lions have been desperately poor, and are yet to taste victory picking up just five away points thus far.

Millwall v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Last time out

Millwall welcomed Nigel Clough and Burton to The Den, where the hosts would surely have fancied themselves to win against a team that have really struggled this season - particularly defensively.

The Lions went down to 10 men on 58 minutes after dominating proceedings, but Marvin Sordell scored the visitors only shot of the day to give the away side a precious three points - a result that helped Sunderland to drop down to the bottom of the division. Millwall were fairly dominant - outshooting their visitors, controlling possession, having more corners and more clear cut chances. A lack of cutting edge cost the hosts; this was summed up by Lee Gregory hitting the post in the final moment of the game.


Dangerman

Former Wolverhampton Wanderers player George Saville is likely to be the man to cause Sunderland problems on Saturday. Saville is a box-box midfielder, with an eye for the net - demonstrated by his four goals scored already this season in a struggling Millwall side.

Millwall v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship
George Saville is having a splendid season so far.
Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Treatment room

Jed Wallace will miss this weekend's game after his red card appeal was rejected by the FA. Shaun Williams is still a long-term absentee, and he is not expected back until Christmas. Apart from those two, Millwall look to have a full squad of players heading into the weekend’s game.


Manager

Neil Harris is a playing legend at Millwall and he is already starting to form a managerial legacy at the club he so clearly loves. Harris is the record goalscorer for Millwall - 138 goals in all competitions - and he played over 400 games for the Lions over two spells.

Harris first took the Millwall job as a caretaker in 2013 before being replaced by Ian Holloway. Harris then took over from the mess that Holloway left in 2015. The season had been a shambles, and despite a spirited comeback late in the campaign, Millwall were relegated to League One.

Just 24 hours after relegation was confirmed, Harris was unveiled as the new Millwall boss. His first season was a largely successful one that saw the Lions miss promotion virtue of a playoff semi-final defeat to Bradford City. However, Millwall were determined last season to prove they were good enough to be in the Championship and Harris guided his side into the playoffs again, and this time there was to be no heartbreak.

FA Cup Semi-Final: Sunderland v Millwall
Neil Harris featured in the FA Cup semi-final when Millwall defeated Sunderland in 2004.
Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Millwall defeated Bradford City, the side who beaten them in the semi-finals a year earlier, by a score of 1-0 confirming that they would be back in the Championship.

Harris also guided Millwall to a FA Cup quarter final last season, where they defeated three Premier League sides: Watford, Bournemouth and Leicester before eventually losing 6-0 to Spurs.


Referee

Tim Robinson will referee Sunderland for the second time this season and hopefully we get a better result than in his first outing. Robinson was the whistler for our diabolical 5-2 away defeat at Ipswich Town, which was probably the night in which our former gaffer Simon Grayson lost the dressing room and fans.

Robinson will also be refereeing Millwall for a second time this season, as he saw them win 1-0 at home to Leeds in September.

Watch out for a red card this weekend - Robinson has handed out eight already this season in just 19 games!


Statistical analysis

It seems that this week’s opponents will be another team who will look to overpower us in the physical battles, score a goal from a corner and then defend for their lives. Therefore, it’s imperative that the Lads bring the ball down and play some football.

Credit whoscored.com

That being said, Millwall are actually more than just a physical presence. They create chances, but generally don’t put them away. The visitors on Saturday will probably sacrifice the ball quite a bit, but they will be dangerous on the counter attack and will likely to try to exploit our weak aerial abilities with crosses into the box. Sunderland can not afford to concede cheap corners - we can’t defend them and Millwall are pretty good from them.

So what to expect this weekend then? Probably a game similar to Bristol City’s visit to the Stadium of Light last month where the visitors just wanted it more than us. Hopefully we can finally be a bit more water-tight, but I am not holding my breath.