League One preview: Northampton vs. Millwall

MAHLON Romeo and Shane Ferguson should be fit after their international involvement as Millwall seek to end a run of four successive defeats in the league at Northampton on Saturday.

Neil Harris is getting closer to having a complete squad to pick from, with defenders Shaun Cummings and Shaun Hutchinson edging closer to full fitness.

Aiden O’Brien is out, but Steve Morison, Byron Webster and Joe Martin, none of whom trained at the end of last week, are available.

Millwall haven’t won in six league games and will be facing a Northampton side that have made a surprisingly good start to their first season in the third tier since 2009. The Cobblers are in sixth place in the table with 18 points from 12 games, and last Saturday drew 1-1 at top-of-the-table Scunthorpe.

Northampton have lost just twice in their last 36 league games, though both have come in the last five fixtures. They showed their resilience against the Iron, equalising through Jak McCourt after Matt Taylor had been sent off.

Millwall won six of their eight games against promoted sides last season, the only blips the 2-1 defeat at Burton and the 2-0 home loss to Southend.

Rob Page was in charge of Port Vale when they lost twice to Millwall in 2015-16, but with Saturday’s opposition in their worst league run under Neil Harris he will be confident that doesn’t represent some kind of bogey.

Lions boss Harris and his assistant Dave Livermore were at Glanford Park last Saturday, and came away impressed with what they saw from the away side.

Harris said: “Northampton have good spirit, they’re well organised and have good energy in the team. They’ve got some experienced players, are very dangerous at set-pieces and are scoring goals.

“It’s a difficult fixture but a really good game for us on the back of beating Gillingham. From that competition we’ve managed to gain some momentum.

“We have to make sure that we’ve used this time wisely for Northampton, and with a few players back to full fitness we go there in good spirits.”

Northampton decided not to appeal midfielder Taylor’s red card. Defender David Buchanan believes the way they got over their numerical disadvantage at the previously rampant league leaders showed they’re not overawed despite their unfamiliarity with League One.

“I think the result sends out a message to our own dressing room,” he said. “We’re not worried about anyone else in the league, we’ve got to look after ourselves and we should take a lot of belief from this game.

“Speaking to their players on the way off they said we’re the best team to go there all season, so that’s massive credit for us and we just need to take that belief now.”

The sides met last season when goals from O’Brien and Lee Gregory sent Millwall through to the quarter-finals of the Football League Trophy.

Their last league meeting was in March 2009 when Gary Alexander’s goal gave Millwall a 1-0 win.

Millwall record against Northampton:

Played 87

Won 44 Drawn 17 Lost 26

Form guide:

Northampton: WWLLD

Millwall: LLLLW

Probable Millwall team:

Millwall: 4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Webster, Craig, Martin; Worrall, Thompson, Williams, Ferguson; Gregory, Morison.

Match odds:

Northampton 13/8 Draw 23/10 Millwall 6/4

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)