Sky Bet League One preview: Burton Albion vs. Millwall

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

BYRON Webster is suspended for Millwall’s first ever trip to The Pirelli Stadium after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Bury at the weekend.

That means 19-year-old Sid Nelson could start his first game since he injured his ribs in the 3-1 win at Crewe on September 12.

Joe Martin returns from a one-game ban and should go straight back into the side, while Carlos Edwards was being assessed yesterday after training.

Manager Neil Harris said Steve Morison was ill on Friday and Saturday but has recovered and could resume his partnership with Lee Gregory up front.

After last Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Fleetwood, when Aiden O’Brien started on the right of midfield, Harris said he would look at whether he got his selection right. That indicates he may have thought it was too attacking and against one of the best teams in the league this season he could pick a more defensive starting XI.

Harris expressed his disappointment that Webster will be missing against Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side, but said whoever replaces him has a chance to make an impression.

“Byron’s suspension is a shame,” he said. “But it’s a lesson learned for everybody: Don’t get silly yellow cards. I’ve no problem with Saturday, it was a coming together and we get cautioned for them whereas other teams seem to get away with them.

“With previous cautions, collectively, not just Byron, we picked up too many needless yellow cards. We feel we’re addressing that, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a shame for Byron because he’s been playing really well but it’ll be an opportunity for someone else to come in and stake a claim for a continued run in the team.

“Sid’s fit and will travel. But we’ve got Joe Martin who can play at centre-half. We’ve got options with who we can play there. We’ll have a good look at Burton and then make the decision.”

Burton defeated Colchester 5-1 at home last Saturday and are third in League One, just a point off the top of the table. They have the best defence in the division having conceded just 15 goals in 19 games. Only five of those have come at home where they have lost just once, to Coventry on September 6.

The numbers all add up to what could be a difficult evening for the Lions.

Harris felt his players responded positively to the defeat at Highbury Stadium, but has issued another challenge to his players before the trip to Burton, a side he rates highly.

“I’ve not seen a great deal of Burton live,” he said. “I’ve seen video footage of them leading up to the game. They’re a very well-drilled, well-organised hardworking team. They have a really good work ethic and some good quality.

“It’s going to be a real test up at their place on a Tuesday evening. But it’s a good one for us because I asked my players on Saturday to bounce back from the disappointment of Fleetwood and I thought they were outstanding.

“In both aspects of the game, in the first half with the ball and the second a toe-to-toe street fight, we stood up to it. I was delighted with the fellas on Saturday but it’s the next away game after the setback at Fleetwood which is the test.

“It’s a challenge for us and one we’re looking forward to. I’m really looking forward to seeing how my players respond to the last away game.”

Meanwhile, Hasselbaink continues to be linked with the Queens Park Rangers job but he insisted his focus is not straying from the crucial fixture against Harris’ side.

Hasselbaink told the Burton Mail: “It's not something that I have to think about. We haven't had an approach and I'm concentrating only on the game (Tuesday) against Millwall.

“That's the only thing that I want to do, the only thing that I can do, and I can't think of speculation.

“I can't assume, as the moment that you assume is the moment that you're going to neglect other things, and I don't want to do that.”

Form guide (Last five games):

Burton: WLWWW

Millwall: WWWLW

Sky Bet odds:

Burton 7/5  Draw 12/5  Millwall 15/8

Probable Millwall team:

Archer; Cummings, Nelson, Beevers, J Martin; O’Brien, Williams, Saville, Upson; Morison, Gregory.

John Kelly