MILLWALL failed to score for the first time in 26 games on Tuesday night, as Bolton completed a defensive masterclass at The Den, running away 2-0 victors.
The Lions have a chance to bounce back on home soil this Saturday as they welcome Fleetwood Town to SE16. John Woolfenden takes on The View From The Opposition.
Name: John Woolfenden
What made you support Fleetwood?: I’ve always been involved with the club from a young age and the ground was literally two minutes' walk from my childhood house. That was around 30 years ago, when we had crowds that were less than fifty on some occasions.
When I was younger, it was always a casual relationship, watching low-level, non-league football, probably doing 10 games a season. Around 11 years ago, a pal of mine started dragging me down again on a regular basis, claiming that "we were on the up". Things then progressed at a massive rate of knots and a few hundred games later, here I am, watching the funny little town of my birth regularly take on cities, which have, on occasion, more than 10 times our population. It's all a bit surreal at times.
The biggest plus of rising up the leagues is the galvanizing effect that it has had on the town. It's broken the link between people and Premier League teams on the telly. My boys regularly attend 40+ games a season and have supported no one else in their lives apart from Fleetwood.
Fleetwood started the season brightly but have slipped down the table slightly in recent weeks. What is the expectation for a club that is – one would assume – punching above its weight?: "Punching above our weight" is a much-used analogy and one that's a bit unfair. I would say that we, along with several other 'smaller' clubs, such as Burton Albion, AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale have found our niche. 'Our niche' involves long-term planning, using resources wisely and having a different operating model to many of the more traditional big clubs like Sheffield United or Bolton Wanderers, for example.
So far this season, we have already played all of the top five and many of the so-called 'bigger clubs'. We are seven points ahead of where we were last season and have won two games on the road (we only won three away all last season). I feel slightly unlucky only to be in 11th place. The realistic expectation around the club is that it would be nice just to have a mediocre, no-drama, mid-table season.
Millwall have had a similar season to the Cod Army, but their tumble down the league has been slightly more alarming. Can you see them digging their way out of trouble and rising up the table?: League One is bizarre! I've found it slightly bewildering that Millwall are towards the foot of the table. For my money, at the start of the season, you were one of my picks for automatic promotion. Having watched every one of our games this season, I've thought of each and every opposition – "they’re not much good".
That's what League One is: it's not a great standard of football, but it is very competitive, if that makes sense. Because the league is so competitive, Millwall are only six points off a play-off spot. So, in my eyes, Millwall have every chance to dig their way out of trouble. The key, I think, is how the club and fans handle the drop in form. If you start calling for Harris' head, or the board panics, you could get yourselves into deeper trouble.
For my money, you back the manager and players until Christmas and then make any decisions as and when needed.
Which Fleetwood players will cause the Lions the most trouble on Saturday afternoon? Likewise, which Millwall men will you need to watch out for?: We have a couple of loanees who are very good players. Chris Long from Burnley has that touch of class and is dangerous up front. Kyle Dempsey, who is on loan from Huddersfield, looks a very good midfielder. However, we have got results lately by putting in a good team effort.
I expect Millwall's threat will come from Lee Gregory and Steve Morison.
Finally, a score prediction?: I'm going for Millwall 1-1 Fleetwood Town, with us scoring first, leading for the majority of the game and Millwall equalising in the last minute with a controversial penalty.