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Millwall fan Michael reckons they’ll win 1-0 - but acknowledges that Grabban is in good form!

It’s Fan Focus time! Today we speak to Michael Avery of the Millwall Supporters Club. He joined Rory to chat about promotion, Millwall’s future in Lewisham and the game which will take place at the Stadium of Light later today.

Millwall v Sunderland Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images

RF: It's been so long since we last met, and Millwall have had a fair few ups & downs over the past decade. Can you briefly catch us up on what's been going on over the last few seasons?

MA: Neil Harris’ reign has been equivalent to Keanu Reeves in the film Speed. Our bus was speeding out of control after having Ian Holloway behind the steering wheel and it was only a matter of time before his reckless driving would have caused our team to be blown into oblivion.

Neil Harris bravely jumped on board and although we dipped into League One for a couple of seasons, he took a potentially chaotic situation and managed to keep us on the runway of good football, before safely taking our players back up to the Championship.

RF: A play off win saw you gain promotion last season - is survival the main aim in most fans eyes this year, or do you think the club should be a bit more ambitious and push further on up the table?

MA: The form has been inconsistent - one minute we are capable of beating the biggest and most favoured team in the league, and the next we are losing to the teams we really should be beating. Unlucky defeats and great wins against Leeds, Norwich and Reading show what we are capable of, but losing to the likes of Burton Albion and Barnsley have brought us back down to earth with a bang.

Survival is obviously the key, but I’m confident we will not be in a relegation battle and with a league as tight as it has been in the past, all we need is a good run.

Brentford v Millwall - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images

RF: Millwall's battle with private developers/Lewisham Council has been covered rather intensely by media outlets such as the Guardian - what is the latest news on that front? Are fans still concerned that the club will have to move out of the area or are you confident the club will overcome it?

MA: The FA Cup run massively helped raise the publicity of what Lewisham Council were doing and helped stop the first Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in its tracks.

Unfortunately, there is the presumption that the CPO is dead and buried, however that was only one CPO and depending on the upcoming Dyson report, a second CPO could materialise.

It’s not just Millwall who would suffer from a CPO, but a lot of local residents and businesses in the area who were threatened by Lewisham Councils actions also. The sad thing is, Millwall is such an integral part of Lewisham and the community so hopefully common sense will prevail and we can all work together to develop the area.

RF: Who's been in good form for you this season? Anyone we should be particularly worried about?

MA: Neil Harris has done brilliantly in the transfer window and his additions have made a big impact. Conor McLaughlin and James Meredith are new signings who have made a solid back four with Shaun Hutchinson and Byron Webster, and although Webster is out for the remainder of the season, Jake Cooper is more than capable to step in. George Saville has been exceptional as well as Tom Elliott, who is looking dangerous from the bench.

Luckily for Sunderland, Jed Wallace has been our best player so far, but he is serving a three match ban for a dreadful red card decision in the Burton game. As his namesake would say, he’s been “Cracking!”

RF: On a similar note, is there anyone worrying you in the Sunderland side?

MA: A sign of a good centre forward is one who can score goals when the team are struggling and from the looks of it, Lewis Grabban is finding the back of the net on a regular basis. Grabban never made it down The Den, but has had a tendency to score one or two against us when we’ve come up against him before so I hope he doesn’t bang one in!

Sunderland v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

RF: How do you expect Neil Harris to approach this game and what do you think the starting line up will be?

MA: After the Burton game, Neil Harris will be hoping to go to the Stadium of Light and get three points. With the form Sunderland are in and with all that’s happening on and off the pitch, Sunderland are there for the taking.

A win away from home will re-kindle the belief that we had at the start of the season and will hopefully take us into the Hull game with a breath of fresh confidence.

Archer; McLaughlin, Hutchinson, Cooper/Craig, Meredith; Onyedinma, Tunicliffe, Saville, O’Brien; Gregory, Morison.

RF: And finally, a score prediction please?

MA: 0-1 away win. Sorry!

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