MILLWALL boss Neil Harris has warned his side face a “completely different test” this weekend against Swindon compared to the facile 2-0 win over the then-struggling Robins in October.
The Lions are fifth in League One and favourites to stretch their unbeaten away run to seven games, but face a Swindon side who have won their last four fixtures.
Mark Cooper was sacked after goals from Lee Gregory and Aiden O’Brien lifted Millwall to 13th in the table on October 17. Martin Ling was appointed at the beginning of November but a 5-1 defeat at Fleetwood left them 22nd in the table on November 21.
But, despite Ling resigning on December 29 for health reasons, they have won 10 of their 16 league games since that heavy defeat and are just seven points off the top six.
And Harris knows that against a side that has scored 11 goals in their last four games Millwall will have to be resilient defensively.
“All good teams are built on a solid foundation” Harris said. “We talk about the spine of the team and the pace and quality added to that.
“Defensively we’ve looked good and that’s the whole team. Pressing from the front has been key. Wide players in our team work so hard, the stats show that in terms of distance covered.
“It’s also about good decision-making and good shape. Winning individual battles is important in the middle of the park. And you need your back four and your goalkeeper to do the dirty, nitty-gritty work.
“We’ve been good at all that recently. We’re on a good run, six clean sheets in eight. But they really will be tested this weekend.”
Four of the Swindon side that started against Millwall in October – Adam El-Abd, Momar Bangoura, Ben Gladwin and Henrik Ojamaa – are no longer at the club.
They have added Michael Doughty on loan from QPR and Jamie Sendles-White from Hamilton to their squad this year.
Swindon confirmed Luke Williams as their permanent manager on a five-year deal this week after he won six out of 10 games in temporary charge in 2016.
“It’s a completely different test,” Harris warned. “It was 2-0 at The Den and could quite easily have been double figures.
“But it’s a different team. A change of management sometimes brings a change of fortunes.
“They’ve some good additions on loan. They’re a team on form so it’s a real challenge for us. They’re a really strong, free-flowing attacking unit that scores a lot of goals.
“It’ll be a good game of football and we’ll have to defend really well to try and get another clean sheet.
“But we’re also on a good run of form ourselves and we’ll have to try and impose ourselves on the game.”