FA Cup preview: Millwall vs. Rochdale

JASON Shackell could go straight into the Millwall side to face Rochdale in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Shackell completed his loan move from Derby on Thursday morning before joining the Lions’ preparations for the clash with League One Dale.

Centre-back Shackell (above, with Christian Mbulu) has played just two senior games for Derby this season in the EFL Cup, but has featured eight times for their under-23s.

His last outing was on Monday, January 15, when he played 90 minutes as the Rams youngsters drew 3-3 with Swansea in a Premier League 2 Division 1 fixture.

Millwall boss Neil Harris will make changes to his first-choice side.

Aiden O’Brien is out injured, which is likely to mean Shane Ferguson will start for the first time since December 2.

Club captain Tony Craig started at left-back in the 4-1 win over Barnsley in the last round and could come in for James Meredith again.

Harris has the option of pairing Fred Onyedinma and Tom Elliott up front if he decides to rest first-choice front two Steve Morison and Lee Gregory.

Ben Thompson is also like to start in midfield.

Rochdale have been in an awful run of recent form. They have won just twice in 11 games, both in this competition, at Slough and Doncaster.

Keith Hill’s side are 23rd in League One, nine points off safety having not won a league game since November 25.

Harris, though, isn’t reading into that form as Millwall aim to reach the fifth round for the second successive year.

“We are under no illusions whatsoever it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “Rochdale took four points off us last year.

“Forget league positions, it’s an absolute waste of time looking at league tables before cup competitions. Rochdale will come with a freedom to play and they will enjoy the challenge.

“Whatever senior team I put out will be more than competitive to play against Rochdale.”

Hill is without Niall Canavan, Keith Keane and Steve Davies for the fixture.

Form guide

Millwall: WLWDW

Rochdale: LLWLL

Millwall record against Rochdale

Played 12

Won 6 Drew 3 Lost 3

Probable Millwall team

Millwall: 4-4-2: Martin; McLaughlin, Hutchinson, Cooper, Craig; Wallace, Thompson, Williams, Ferguson; Onyedinma, Elliott.

Match odds

Millwall 8/15 Draw 16/5 Rochdale 5/1

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly