PREVIEW: Sheffield United vs. Millwall

MILLWALL travel to Sheffield United almost a year to the day after they successfully defended their top-six place with a 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane.

Steve Morison scored in the 76th minute, two minutes after Leon Clarke had put the Blades in front.

The clubs are chasing very different objectives now. Millwall’s is clear: avoid relegation.

The Blades could yet grab a top-two spot, but will at least be contesting the play-offs as they aim for a second promotion in three years under Chris Wilder.

Wilder still has a number of players that won League One with 100 points in 2016-17, when Millwall were promoted through the play-offs. Eight of their squad from their 1-0 win at Preston last weekend were with them in 2017.

Wilder has also added older players on free transfers, such as David McGoldrick and Martin Cranie, and 33-year-old mainstays Billy Sharp and Mark Duffy have been key to an attack that has been exhilarating in the Championship this season.

Sharp is the only player over 30 in the top ten Championship scorers this campaign, and could yet finish top.

Harris was asked this week if he thought United would still be challenging for automatic promotion with five games left.

“Honestly, probably not,” he replied. “Obviously they had a very good season last year and, like ourselves, only just missed out in the last few weeks of the season.

“What they’ve done is strengthened transfer window after transfer window and developed what they’re doing up there.

“They’re a very tough team to play against, they’ve got a very good core group of players that have come through the British system and are good at this level.

“They have a manager that loves the club, and his passion shows in his team and the way he manages. They’ve done very well and I wish them every success – after Saturday.

“I enjoy watching them play and I’m a big Chris Wilder fan. That aside, all that matters to me Saturday is that Millwall get three points.”

This Saturday will be Millwall’s last 3pm kick-off time this season. They play Bristol City at 7.45pm on April 30, Wigan Athletic at 12.30pm on the final day, and their next three games see two 1pm starts and a 1.30pm start.

Harris doesn’t believe that will have any impact on results.

“I don’t think it really matters. I think the majority of my players prefer the early kick-off,” Harris said.

“The lads are up anyway. The staff get up early to have meetings and a lot of the lads have young kids now so are used to being up.

“The younger ones probably still enjoy their lie-in on a Saturday morning, but it makes no odds to us.”

Meanwhile, Shane Ferguson returns from suspension this weekend to give Harris another option on Millwall’s left flank.

Shaun Hutchinson has been ill recently and Harris was hoping he would be ready to resume training later this week.

Possible Millwall starting XI

4-1-3-1-1: Martin; Romeo, Pearce, Cooper, Meredith; Leonard; J Wallace, Tunnicliffe, Marshall; Thompson; Gregory.

Match odds

Sheffield United 4/6 Draw 12/5 Millwall 7/2

This season’s meeting

Millwall 2-3 Sheffield United (Cooper 47, Gregory 50; Sharp 40, McGoldrick 79 pen, 88)

Millwall: 4-4-2: Amos; Romeo, Webster, Cooper, Meredith (Bradshaw, 89); Wallace, Williams, Leonard, O'Brien (Ferguson, 80); Morison (Elliott, 84), Gregory.

Prediction: Sheffield United 1-1 Millwall

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly