MILLWALL are set to have one of their biggest away followings of the season at Stoke on Saturday – with Neil Harris calling the support “phenomenal”.
Around 1,400 tickets had been sold by Wednesday out of an allocation of 2,074 for the last game before Christmas as Millwall go in search of a first away win of the season.
Millwall had to wait until January against Leeds at Elland Road for their first victory on the road in 2017-18 when Jed Wallace (above) scored an injury-time winner.
“We’re the underdog going into the game, that’s clear at the moment,” Harris said. “Stoke, when you go through their side, have some fantastic players. Gary [Rowett] has inherited an unbelievably talented squad that never should have got relegated from the Premier League, that’s for sure.
“It’s another huge challenge for us. It’s the last fixture of the first half of the season and arguably the toughest one.
“We need our Leeds United from last season somewhere. We need to go somewhere and out-perform, out-grind, out-score the opposition. It gives us the opportunity to do that at Stoke.
“Our fans are going to be phenomenal for a Christmas period game. They’re looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to the challenge of picking a team that goes there and performs and gives us a chance of winning.
“Football is a beautiful game, the Championship in particular is a challenging division. Anyone on their day can beat anyone and that has to be our thought process going into this one.”
It’s the Lions' first league game at Stoke since February 2006, when they lost 2-1 in the Championship.
Harris has challenged his players to defend their box better after conceding three goals at Preston last weekend, the 13th time they have conceded two or more in a game this season.
“It’s going to be a game with a lot of scoring opportunities, which means we have to be at our attacking best but defensively be as solid as we can,” Harris said. “If there are going to be chances then you rely on good one-v-one defending and your goalkeeper making saves.
“At the other end you say to your players we need more goals. When you play against good sides you have to stop their key players. What’s important against Stoke is you have to try to contain their strengths before pushing forward and worrying about ourselves.
“Preston was a game that we didn’t get opened up, our shape didn’t get played around. We have to take a lot of credit for that but find a way to defend our penalty area better.”
Image: Millwall FC