FA Cup preview: Millwall vs. AFC Bournemouth

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris has plenty of options if he decides to change his starting XI for the first time in five games for the third round of the FA Cup against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Lions go into the fixture at The Den in good form after three wins and a draw in their last four games.

Harris admitted it will be difficult to predict the Cherries’ line-up, with Eddie Howe set to make changes after their 3-3 draw against Arsenal this week.

Simon Francis was already suspended after his red card against the Gunners, but Howe could rest some players with the Premier League the club’s priority.

Harris should have a full squad to pick from this weekend but also hinted he could alter his side.

“No one came off injured, no one has reported any injuries so hopefully we’ll have a fit squad,” Harris said this week after Monday’s tough 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon.

“We won’t have an idea of their starting XI, but Eddie has an extremely good squad and a competitive squad for the Premier League, let alone Championship or League One.

“He’s got the opportunity to shuffle his pack but what won’t change is their style of play, the pace and attacking prowess they will have in their team. Personnel might change but style of play won’t because they’ve got a good ethos there.

“We can plan for Bournemouth and we’ll prepare diligently for them.

“There are some of my players looking to get back into the team. It’s been a big ask for my players playing four games in 12 days, but they’ve been excellent, really, really good.

“Somewhere along the line we have to look at giving people an opportunity and minutes on the pitch, and, as ever, adjusting to the style of play of the opposition.

“Other than Swindon we played three very fast, aggressive games and I thought the team suited all four games. Will it be the same for Bournemouth or Charlton away? Maybe not.

“It’s a good game for both teams. It’s a good chance for us to test ourselves against a top-ten Premier League side and cause a cup upset. Our fans will certainly try to help us to do that.

“For Bournemouth they’ll look at it as a difficult game, but also the opportunity to progress. As a top-ten Premier League side they’ll be looking towards making the quarter-finals or going further. It’s a great competition and we certainly look forward to the challenge.”

Bournemouth have doubts over attackers Joshua King and Callum Wilson, while winger Ryan Fraser, who tormented Arsenal’s defence and scored his side's third goal, is likely to miss out with an ankle injury.

Assistant manager Jason Tindall said the tie is a chance for those who come in to impress at The Den.

"We've got three or four players with knocks and we need to monitor them and be smart," Tindall told Bournemouth Echo.

"It's an opportunity for them to recover and for players who have been on the fringes to perform.

"Whatever team is selected will be one which we have every confidence in and will, hopefully, get us through to the next round."

Millwall record against AFC Bournemouth:

Played: 78

Won 38 Drawn 11 Lost 29

Form guide:

Millwall (Last five home): LLWWW

AFC Bournemouth (Last five away): WLLLW

Probable Millwall team:

4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Webster, Hutchinson, Craig; O’Brien, Thompson, Williams, Ferguson; Gregory, Morison.

Match odds:

Millwall 3/1 Draw 5/2 AFC Bournemouth 4/5

John Kelly