PREVIEW: Millwall vs. Preston North End

MILLWALL are out to avoid a third consecutive goalless league draw at The Den for the first time in over 15 years – as they aim for a first Championship goal at home this year.

But Neil Harris’ side will be full of confidence after inflicting just a third home Championship defeat of the season on Derby last Wednesday, and keeping four clean sheets in their last five games.

Alex Pearce returns to the squad after he couldn’t feature against his parent club, and Harris should have a wealth of midfield and attacking options.

Harris must decide whether to retain Jed Wallace, who scored the winner against the Rams, up front alongside Lee Gregory, or recall Tom Elliott from the start.

If Wallace returns to the right wing Ben Marshall and Shane Ferguson are in competition to play on the left of midfield.

It would be difficult to leave out Ferguson, given the winger set up Wallace’s winner on his first start in four league games at Pride Park.

“Fergie is a class fella, an international footballer. His work ethic is first class, his professionalism top drawer and he’s very popular in the changing room,” Harris said.

“He’s very reliable on the field whether I’ve played him left side, right side, full-back. He’s as important to us off the bench as he is from the start.

“Fergie has got the modern-day mentality where if he plays six in a row he’s delighted but if he then plays four in a row off the bench he’s happy because he knows the importance of it. He does that role for us and Northern Ireland, starting and coming off the bench.

“He’s a great character and as a manager a joy to work with.”

Preston have different ambitions to Millwall, though a play-off challenge may be out of reach as they are nine points off sixth.

Alex Neil’s side are enjoying their second-best run of the season, as they are unbeaten in seven league games.

Neil is without strikers Callum Robinson and Louis Moult, as well as goalkeeper Connor Ripley for the Den clash.

Possible Millwall starting XI:

4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, M Wallace; J Wallace, Leonard, Williams, Ferguson; Gregory, Elliott.

Match odds:

Millwall 13/8 Draw 21/10 Preston 7/4

This season’s meeting:

Preston 3-2 Millwall (Browne 37, Barkhuizen 42, Hughes 81; Cooper 61, Gregory 92)

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly