Sky Bet League One preview: Walsall vs. Millwall

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

JOE Martin could make his first league start for Millwall since the 2-1 win over Oldham on January 9 in the centre of defence in place of the suspended Mark Beevers.

Beevers is banned for two games after his sending off against Oxford on Tuesday night, his second red card of the season.

Martin partnered Byron Webster when he came on in the second half and has played in the position for previous club Gillingham. Sid Nelson, whose last start was in the 1-0 defeat to Walsall on Boxing Day, is another option.

Right-back Shaun Cummings could also be unavailable meaning Neil Harris is potentially without four defenders for the clash with second-placed Walsall.

Shaun Williams is a doubt with the foot problem that caused him to miss the 1-0 win at the Kassam Stadium.

Harris has fewer attacking worries, with Lee Gregory getting his 16th goal of the season on Tuesday.

“It’s a great achievement and knowing Lee he would have been disappointed he didn’t add to it,” Harris said. “He loves scoring goals and is in a rich vein of form.

“Add in Steve Morison, Aiden O’Brien and Jed Wallace’s quality and it gives us a good outlet at the moment.

“If you’ve got your centre-forwards almost guaranteeing you a goal a game between them then it gives you a chance of winning any game of football.”

Despite going out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the last-four stage, Harris emphasised their involvement in the competition was beneficial.

“I was disappointed for the huge number of fans who came to support us again. It would’ve been another positive step for us to experience a final together as a group,” Harris said.

“But it was really good for us, there were a lot of plusses. We had one bad 30-minute spell and it cost us a place at Wembley. It’s part of the learning curve for us as a group.”

Walsall dominated possession when the two sides met at The Den on December 26 and despite stuttering home form this year their 2-1 win at Doncaster this week leaves them just a point off Burton at the top of the table.

The Saddlers are 12 points ahead of Millwall in the last play-off spot but manager Sean O’Driscoll won’t let his squad get complacent.

“I don’t get excited – trust me. There’s 18 games to go so 12 points is nothing,” O’Driscoll told the Express & Star.

“In football you can’t take anything for granted.

“It’s a really small squad and the temptation in the window was to bring two or three people in.

“We opted against it because they’ve got where they’ve got doing what they’ve done and you’ve got to give them responsibility and credit.”

Form guide (Last five league):

Walsall: LDWDW

Millwall: LWWWD

Match odds:

Walsall 13/10 Draw 12/5  Millwall 2/1

Probable Millwall team:

4-4-2: Archer; Cummings, Webster, J Martin, Ferguson; Wallace, Abdou, Williams, O’Brien; Morison, Gregory.

Last meeting:

League One, December 26 2015

Millwall 0

Walsall 1

Millwall: Forde; Edwards, Nelson, Beevers, J Martin (Pavey, 76); Onyedinma (Upson, 67), Abdou, Williams, Ferguson; O'Brien, Morison.

Walsall: Etheridge; Demetriou, O'Connor, Downing, Taylor (Kinsella 45); Chambers, Evans, Morris (Cook, 72), Sawyers, Forde; Lalkovic (Preston 89).

John Kelly