League One preview: Millwall vs. Swindon

GIVEN Millwall have lost to the top and bottom sides in recent weeks, it's probably foolish to think 19th-placed Swindon at home on Boxing Day will be a straightforward fixture.

Neil Harris will be more confident of ending the year on a high with Steve Morison back fit, though:  The Lions won just four of nine games he didn't start as he recovered from a knee injury, and two of those were against League Two Luton and non-league Braintree.

Swindon, meanwhile, have been wildly inconsistent, capable of beating Charlton 3-0 and losing by four goals in their following league game against Rochdale.

Robins captain Nathan Thompson admits the season so far has been close to a write-off, but cites Barnsley last season as an example of how drastically things can change after Christmas.

"The last five months have been a complete waste with the results we have picked up," Thompson said. "We have been littered with bad performances and we find ourselves near the bottom of the table.

"We have still got a whole half of the season left and if we really want to try to achieve something, it starts now and I think we saw a little bit of that on Saturday (in a 1-1 draw www.honeytraveler.com/buy-topamax/ with Fleetwod)."

"We have got 24 games left, that's 72 points up for grabs.

"I always refer back to Barnsley and even Millwall when they beat us in the play-offs in 2009-10, both teams had a hell of a run in the second half of the season and they got promoted, so I see no reason why we can't do that."

Thompson won't feature for Swindon, and James Brophy and Jamie Sendles-White are also injured.

The Millwall squad will be at their training ground on Calmont Road early on Christmas Day, but Shaun Hutchinson is a fan of the Boxing Day fixture schedule.

"I know for clubs' financial benefits it's better for them to be getting the gate receipts," he said. "For a player it's fine, we're in football and there are ups and downs.

"You might have to come in Christmas Day and Boxing Day you're playing a game. That's the way it is and, to be honest, you want to play as many games as possible. The more the better."

Millwall record against Swindon:

Played 96

Won 38 Drawn 27 Lost 31

Possible Millwall team:

4-4-2: Archer; Cummings, Webster, Hutchinson, Craig; Onyedinma, Thompson, Williams, O'Brien; Gregory, Morison.

Match odds:

Millwall 3/4 Draw 14/5 Swindon 7/2

John Kelly