Championship preview: Preston vs. Millwall

FRED Onyedinma should continue his partnership up front with Steve Morison in the absences of Lee Gregory and Tom Elliott.

Gregory is suspended for two more games for his red card at QPR last week, while Tom Elliott’s quad injury is likely to keep him out for at least another ten days.

Millwall have no other injury or suspension problems as they go looking for their first away win in a regular league game since the dramatic, play-off clinching 4-3 victory at Bristol Rovers last season.

Lions boss Neil Harris has a settled side this season, but praised those on the fringes of the first team for creating the competition that has raised performance levels in the Championship.

He said: “All the players should be looking over their shoulders. A lot was made of the performance on Saturday, but what drives the performances? Is it the players’ desire, the set-up of the team, the belief?

“Or is it the competitive nature of the squad? The players who aren’t starting are pushing those in the team to perform like that week-in, week-out.

“You’ve got Tony Craig, Mahlon Romeo, Jake Cooper, three defenders that were instrumental in getting us promoted last year chomping at the bit to get in.

“Ryan Tunnicliffe came in from Fulham with big pedigree and after some top performances last year and he wants to play.

“Someone like Shane Ferguson was really unlucky to lose out at the weekend on the back of his performance against QPR.”

It won’t be easy to get a first three points this season away from home against a Preston side that aren’t too dissimilar in style to Millwall.

Former Norwich City boss Alex Neil has built a combative side spearheaded by striker Jordan Hugill. Hugill was only 18 when he went to Spain to join the Glen Hoddle Academy, and finally, at the age of 25, he is fulfilling his promise. He has scored four goals in nine games this season.

Preston raided the League of Ireland in the summer for Sean Maguire, paying under £150,000 for the 23-year-old striker, who has scored two goals since his move from Cork City.

Stephy Mavididi, whom Millwall had monitored before his loan move to Deepdale from Arsenal, offers pace and directness off the bench.

Preston haven’t lost at home this season, the last team to take three points off them at Deepdale Norwich City in April.

Right-back Darnell Fisher could be back after missing last weekend's 3-1 win at Birmingham. Paul Gallagher and Ben Pearson are expected to miss the clash, while goalkeeper Declan Rudd is still sidelined.

Tom Clarke and Greg Cunningham are long-term injury absentees.

Millwall could move as high as tenth with a win, and Byron Webster is confident a victory on the road is not far away.

“Our performances justify more points,” Webster said. “You want to be playing well and sooner or later the points will come, and that’s been proven. On the whole, though, we’re happy.

Millwall record against Preston

Played 61

Won 28 Draw 9 Lost 24

League form guide

Preston: WDDWW

Millwall: LWLDW

Probable Preston team: 4-2-3-1: Maxwell; Woods, Huntington, Davies, Earl; Johnson, Browne; Barkhuizen, Harrop, Maguire; Hugill.

Probable Millwall team: 4-4-2: Archer; McLaughlin, Webster, Hutchinson, Meredith; Wallace, Saville, Williams, O’Brien; Onyedinma, Morison.

Match odds

Preston 1/1 Draw 5/2 Millwall 13/5

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly