Nick, editor of the excellent Millwall fanzine Cold Blow Lane, agreed to answer some of my questions about Millwall’s away form, their players to watch, Danny N’Guessan and flares. Play nice now, we’re all friends here…
1) You’re going to Wembley after a beating Blackburn in the FA Cup Quarter Final. Will this be a catalyst for a win tomorrow? Or do you think this side will be exhausted come tomorrow morning and have one eye still on the cup?
Our league form of late has been poor and we have plummeted from the brink of the play-off zone to the brink of the bottom six with alarming speed. Ask any Millwall fan about this season and it divides into the pre-Christmas Chris Wood period, when his goals made the difference for us. And then the post-Christmas non Wood period where we look like we’d struggle to score in an Old Kent Road massage parlour.
That said, the cup wins over Aston Villa and Blackburn were what we might call big matches played in big atmospheres. And Millwall will always be at their best as underdogs in frenetic surroundings tinged with a hint of mayhem. It’s when The Den is flat that we are at our weakest in my opinion.
Certainly tomorrow’s game is an important local derby for us as put simply, we ned the points. Also there will be a large crowd and i hope a decent atmosphere – which will be in our favour. Will the cup help or hinder? Difficult to say, the temptation not to get injured will be great – we’re potentially 90 minutes from Europe and that sense of missing out will be hard to avoid.
2) How has Millwall’s away form been this season?
A lot better than our home performances in many ways. Like many modern football sides, we look better defending and catching sides on the break. It’s a shame, we all want blood and thunder 4-4-2 home performances, but in many ways we are geared up to absorb pressure and counter-punch. Boring? I couldn’t possibly comment.
3) How do you think Kenny Jackett will set up tactically?
Probably he will stick with what we saw in the two Blackburn games – a variation of 4-3-3 falling into 4-5-1 in the modern way when we need to defend.
4) Players to look out for?
Danny Shittu is fast achieving cult status at Millwall and is a very hard man to miss. The midfield should be dominated by the talented but erratic Liam Trotter. If the talented version shows up, he can pass for the Gods. The problem is that his much duller alter-ego turns out more often.
5) Rob Hulse Or Danny N’Guessan?
Why choose when you have riches such as these to choose from? Don’t deny yourself I say and play ’em both. Expect DNG as a kind of left field striker cum winger cum … er not sure really. Hulse to be the battering ram up front
6) The flare on the pitch at The Den – did that bother you?
Not really, it was a shame that there was some silliness at The Den because I for one have never regarded El Classico South East Londono as being a nasty fixture. We’re all too interbred to really hate each other in my opinion, but the kick-off in Zampa road was unwelcome for me. I don’t like flares by the way – too ‘ultra’.
A draw will suit both sides and i am going to sit on the fence on this: 0-0 or 1-1 – don’t expect a pulsating classic…