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Fan Focus - Millwall: “The Black Cats seem more like domesticated pets compared to our Lions!”

We caught up with Michael Avery of the Millwall Supporters Club and their blog The Greasy Spoon Fellas. As well as previewing the upcoming game, Michael briefed us what a great job Neil Harris is doing and the latest news in Millwall’s battle to stay in Lewisham.

Millwall's Tim Cahill celebrates scoring the winning goal against Sunderland
Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Image

RF: Looking at your recent form, we could be facing you at a pretty bad time. You’re twelfth and only six points off the play-offs - could a late surge be on the cards?

MA: As the famous posters say, Keep Calm and Carry On.

Although we are getting closer to that top six, and if a few results go our way we may find ourselves in there, Neil Harris is taking it one game at a time. We have had a fantastic season so far, and even though a late push towards promotion is something I never thought I’d write in our first season back, a mid-table finish and building to the future is something all Millwall fans will take.

RF: Millwall hardly had buckets of cash to spend in the summer, so to be in this position so late in the season is obviously great for a newly promoted club. Neil Harris deserves huge credit for this (and probably isn’t getting enough of it!) but what has he done so well to make this a good campaign?

MA: Easy – he has restored pride to this Millwall team that was missing in the Greek tragedies that were the Lomas and Holloway years.

The team play bright and attractive football and we are not intimidated by the opposition we play against. The Den being a fortress is an understatement as well, it’s more like a roaring and snarling beast that feeds off of the passion of the crowd, and with what is on offer on the pitch the fans will continue to provide this.

Neil Harris also has a fantastic backroom staff who know what it takes to play for this club, and the behind the scenes recruitment also needs a lot of praise.

Millwall v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
Neil Harris has guided Millwall through a very impressive season, following their promotion from League One
Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

RF: Back in November you updated us on Millwall’s battle with Lewisham Council and the CPO. To outsiders like myself, things seem to have gone a bit quiet since the end of last year, around the time Lewisham Council were cleared of “any impropriety.” Can you give us the latest news on the clubs fight to stay in their home and are fans optimistic that you’ll remain there?

MA: It all seems to have gone a bit quiet now, but as we discussed before, this is never necessarily a good thing with the local council. In the past there has been very little coming out and then we get the controversial Dyson report released which has cleared the local council of any wrongdoing.

Whether you like Millwall or not, I do urge everyone to look into how the club has been treated for the full story behind it and the CPO is still in the back of everyone’s minds.

Bradford City v Millwall - Sky Bet League One Playoff Final
Steve Morison celebrates Millwall’s play off final victory last season. The striker could cause The Lads some problems on Saturday
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

RF: Which individuals have been in good form for Millwall lately? Anyone in particular we should be keeping an eye on? You don’t have to mention the return of Tim Cahill because even if he doesn’t play he will still find a way to score against us!

MA: It’d be quicker to say who hasn’t been in form! This Millwall side has been fantastic over the past few months, and four consecutive away victories shows how far we’ve come since the start of the season.

Our obvious candidates of Jed Wallace, George Saville, Lee Gregory and Steve Morison are those that most would say, but we cannot forget our back line of Mahlon Romeo, Jake Cooper, James Meredith and the fantastic Shaun Hutchinson.

This is the best side we have had for years, and even the worst player normally walks off the pitch with a 7/10 rating most weeks.

RF: What about us? Are there any Sunderland players that you think will cause problems?

MA: Callum McManaman seems to be in a bit of form and although he’s been in and out of the side, he has had glimpses where he has shown to be dangerous. He’ll be under the microscope after his shenanigans recently against Middlesbrough and after getting the backing of Coleman he could cause us issues.

Luckily for us, every Millwall fan’s favourite ex-player Lewis Grabban has decided to go elsewhere, but we can’t look past the likes of Aiden McGeady who is a top player.

Callum McManaman made a huge impact last week, will he do the business at The New Den?

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

MA: He will be going for the three points no doubt. Harris has always said his primary target is 50 points, and at the moment we are on 48.

With all respect to the Black Cats, they seem like domesticated pets compared to our Lions, so Millwall should be the dominate Feline in this one. Injuries aside, the Millwall team picks itself.

(4-4-2): Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith, Wallace, Williams, Saville, Marshall, Gregory, Morison.

RF: Finally, let’s have a prediction please?

MA: 2-0 to Millwall. Sorry!

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