PREVIEW: Millwall vs. Hull City

NEIL Harris is demanding a reaction from his players after their disappointing last outing at The Den when they lost 2-0 to Birmingham.

Millwall are in the bottom three but would climb out of the relegation zone with a win.

The Lions showed lots of spirit to come from behind last Sunday to claim a 1-1 draw at Bristol City despite their much-depleted ranks.

Harris is boosted on Saturday by the return from suspension of Ryan Leonard, who should slot into midfield in place of the injured Shaun Williams.

Harris was encouraged that his side were more stubborn opponents against Lee Johnson’s side than in some of their previous games.

“Probably where we’ve fallen a little bit short this season is that we haven’t made it as difficult for the opposition as I like to,” Harris said. “I think we’ve been too easy to score against.

“I talk about getting back to basics and where we’ve been very good in recent years is keeping the ball away from our penalty box. This season so far we haven’t done that.

“Some teams do that through dominating possession, some teams do it with being more direct and playing in the half of the opponent. Against Bristol for 28 minutes [until Famara Diedhiou hit the crossbar] they couldn’t get near our penalty area.

“Lee likes to pass the ball and overload areas, and they do it very well. He’s been complimentary to us in our style of play, which is nice to hear. It means we made it difficult for them.

“For us to be at our best we have to have every individual at their best and we have to make it extremely difficult for the opponent.

“When I talk about traits I like to see in my team, being difficult to break down is probably the number-one priority.”

Hull managed to do something that Millwall haven’t yet done this season by winning away, as they beat QPR 3-2 last Saturday with Jarred Bowen netting his sixth goal of the season and creating the other two.

Nigel Adkins’ Tigers side have won five times in the league this season, with three of them coming on the road.

Last season, Millwall took four points from a side that were in the Premier League in 2016-17.

“They struggled last year but they have some excellent players,” Harris said. “They’ve recently been in the Premier League and have parachute payments. People see them as a big club, a Premier League club or at least a top Championship club.

“I think Nigel has done a fantastic job trying to stabilise the club, with trouble between the terraces and the board.

“They’re in a little run of form at the moment and that makes them a dangerous opponent. More importantly for me, on the back of a disappointing performance against Birmingham at The Den, albeit with 10 men for a long period of it, we want to put that right.

“My focus becomes purely on my players and my team’s performance. We want to build on an excellent point at the weekend in Bristol.”

Possible Millwall starting XI:

4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; J Wallace, Leonard, Tunnicliffe, Ferguson; Gregory, Morison.

Match odds:

Millwall 11/10 Draw 23/10 Hull 12/5

Last season’s meetings:

Millwall 0-0 Hull; Hull 1-2 Millwall (Hernandez 79’; Saville 1’, Cooper 33’)

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly