Preview: Millwall vs. Doncaster

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris is preparing his players for a backlash from Doncaster tonight.

Darren Feguson’s side lost 4-0 at Peterborough at the weekend and have won once in three games since the former Preston manager was tasked with guiding the club away from relegation danger.

Doncaster arrive in south London in 22nd place in the League One table, but Harris, who saw his side go through a difficult period in August, says his players know what to expect from their opponents.

Millwall are just three points outside the top six and successive home games against Doncaster and Bradford on Saturday give them the chance to move into the promotion places for the first time since August.

“We’re looking forward to the week ahead,” Harris said. “It’s a tough week against two teams that are going to make it really difficult battles.

“Doncaster come off the back of a bad defeat to Peterborough and their manager will be looking for a reaction, so it’ll be a real test of character for us.

“Physically and mentally we’ll need to be prepared and my players will be. We have to match their reaction, they’ll want to put a bad performance right.

“But we’ll focus on ourselves and focus on what makes us a good team.

“The players came in in good spirits. There’s a fine line between carrying momentum, being confident and being over-confident.

“It’s my job and the staff’s job to make sure we are fully re-focussed on the week ahead.”

This evening's rescheduled clash could come too soon for Shaun Williams as he recovers from a back injury, but right-back Carlos Edwards is available following his one-game suspension.

Harris said: “Shaun has a muscular injury in his back and it can disappear as quickly as it comes. We’ll give him every opportunity to be fit but if not then we’ll give him every chance to be fit for Saturday.

“Obviously I’ve got the opportunity to change the team if need be and maybe change the shape of the team for Doncaster. I’ll consider that carefully before naming the team.

“There’s been a lot of football in the last week but it’s amazing how winning games makes you feel better.”

Millwall edged a physical contest against Sheffield United on Saturday after which Blades boss Nigel Adkins and striker Billy Sharp complained about some of the away side’s challenges, with Adkins feeling George Saville was lucky to escape punishment after a collision with Dean Hammond.

The Lions picked up seven yellow cards and one red card in their last two games and, while Harris is pleased with the robust nature of their approach, he admitted he would “remind them about overstepping the line”.

He added: “But if you want to be a physical team you have to let the players find their own way sometimes.

“This is a football club where the fanbase demands attitude and aggressiveness, as well as passion, desire and team spirit. That’s what I expect from my players.”

Doncaster could be without Nathan Tyson, Keshi Anderson and Rob Jones, while defender Gary MacKenzie is definitely out.

Ferguson is hoping his players can frustrate the home crowd at The Den.

“They’re going well. They’re a big, physical team,” he told The Star.

“We’ve got to make sure we impose ourselves on them and, if we can, control possession and quieten their fans.

“The players know what to expect. We’re going to have to battle to earn the right to play against these.

“That’s one thing you’ve got to do away from home, better than we did on Saturday anyway.”

Form guide (Last five league):

Millwall: DLWDW

Doncaster: DWLWL

Sky Bet match odds:

Millwall 4/5  Draw 13/5  Doncaster 100/30

Probable Millwall team:

4-4-2: Archer; Edwards, Craig, Beevers, J Martin; Onyedinma, Thompson, Saville, Ferguson; Morison, O’Brien.

John Kelly