NEIL Harris will have at least one selection dilemma this weekend as Conor McLaughlin returns from suspension for the clash with Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Mahlon Romeo scored in the 3-1 win over Sheffield United last Saturday and demonstrated that he is also comfortable as a wing-back, which eases the transition from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 should Harris decide to change formation at any point.
Fred Onyedinma will miss the Christmas period after he damaged his groin last week.
However, Shaun Williams is closer to a return. He was set for his first full week of training this week since September as he remains on course for first-team action before Christmas.
Harris said: “Shaun Williams only trained [last Friday] so including him [against Sheffield United] was never an option. He needs to train all of [this] week and then there’s a reserve game the week after to think about including him in.
“Just having back in the training group, he brings so much composure, quality, he brings an aura about him that big players have, and he’s a big player for us. Having back is a big bonus.”
Millwall are still searching for their first away win in the league this season, and it won’t be easy to get it this weekend. Aston Villa have only lost once at home in the Championship in this campaign, and only Cardiff have conceded fewer goals on their own turf.
Henri Lansbury returned from injury for Aston Villa last week to score their equaliser at Leeds.
Lansbury was the player Millwall referenced in their statement after their appeal to have Jed Wallace’s red card overturned. Lansbury had his rescinded for a similar tackle against Middlesbrough.
Bruce warned having former Arsenal midfielder Lansbury back is “like having a new player.
“He's been struggling with a knee injury and in the last few weeks looks to have been free of pain,” Bruce said.
“It’s shown in the way he’s trained and looked recently and we know what a good player he is.
“Now it’s like having a new player.”
Bruce admits the clash against Millwall kicks off a difficult run of games. “It is some fixture list, but we go into it full of confidence. We couldn’t have a more difficult Christmas.
“It’s not just the teams we’re coming up against, it’s coping with the games and the in-between times.
“We’ve still got a bit to do in order to mount a challenge. At the moment we’re doing okay but we’ve got a long way to go.”
Bruce will be without John Terry as the former Chelsea defender recovers from a broken metatarsal.
Aston Villa: LWWWD
Millwall record against Aston Villa
Won 8 Drew 9 Lost 14
Possible Millwall line-up
4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; Wallace, Tunnicliffe, Saville, Ferguson; Gregory, Morison.
Possible Aston Villa line-up
4-2-3-1: Johnstone; Hutton, Chester, Samba, Taylor; Whelan, Hourihane; Snodgrass, Onomah, Adomah; Davis
Aston Villa 4/5 Draw 13/5 Millwall 7/2
Image: Millwall FC