MILLWALL can go six points clear of Sheffield United with three games left in the race for the play-offs with a win at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
The Lions are on a club-record 16-game unbeaten league run in the second tier, and need to add another win to it to guarantee staying in sixth.
The intriguing question for Millwall ahead of this game is whether there will again be the need to switch to 3-5-2 at some point to match the Blades’ set-up.
In both of the last two meetings between the sides, Lions boss Neil Harris has changed to three at the back. It was unsuccessful last season, when Millwall lost 2-0 at Bramall Lane. But this season, the half-time tactical tweak worked when right wing-back Mahlon Romeo scored to make it 2-1 before Jake Cooper added a third.
Harris could name the same side, in the same 4-4-2 set-up, for the 10th time in 12 games.
The Lions boss praised the contribution of those players that have seen their chances of action limited recently.
“The lads on the bench want to play,” Harris said. “You’ve seen the impact they have had coming on, Shacks [Jason Shackell], Timmy [Cahill] – his importance to the squad has been seen already from the moment he came in.
“Fred [Onyedinma] has played nearly every game this year, either starting or off the bench. Aiden [O’Brien] and Tunni [Ryan Tunnicliffe], Dave Martin, Tom Elliott – they are always ready to go.
“The squad is in a really good place at the moment. A big part of my job is managing the squad and their mentality.”
Harris will likely make one change to the side that defeated Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night, club captain Steve Morison replacing Elliott up front despite the latter’s goal and impressive performance at The Macron Stadium.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Jamal Backman, who returns from suspension, could start in place of Simon Moore for Sheffield United.
Mark Duffy was a substitute in the Blades’ 2-1 win over Middlesbrough this week but could also come back into the starting XI as he has recovered fully from injury.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has been impressed with how both sides have done this season.
“We both go for the jugular,” Wilder said. “There’s not been many times since coming up, if any, when we’ve gone ,‘wow’, and been intimidated. This is a great opportunity for us and them.
“Neither of us were being tipped to go up but I’ve got the greatest respect [for Millwall] because of what they’ve done and how, like us, they always give it absolutely everything they’ve got.”
Millwall record against Sheffield United
Won 23 Draw 8 Lost 22
Sheffield United: WDDDLW
Millwall: 4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; Wallace, Williams, Saville, Marshall; Gregory, Morison.
Sheffield United: 3-5-2: Blackman; Basham, Stearman, O'Connel; Baldock, Fleck, Evans, Duffy, Stevens; Clarke, Brooks.
Sheffield United 11/10 Draw 23/10 Millwall 12/5
Image: Millwall FC