NEIL Harris is trying to find the right “formula” for his Millwall side this season – but he is enjoying the process with a squad that wants to “learn and improve”.
Harris handed full league debuts to Jayson Molumby and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson at Blackburn last Saturday and will likely change his side again this weekend.
Matt Smith will be eager to face his former club, and could form a striker partnership this weekend with Tom Bradshaw if Harris reverts to 4-4-2.
The Lions are aiming to continue their unbeaten home record this campaign and will be keen to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Blackburn.
Harris wants his side to be more clinical, after just five goals in seven league games, but has been pleased with the approach play up to the opponent’s box.
“We’ve done it two ways. We’ve done it by being direct and picking up second balls and getting from box to box,” Harris said.
“And then there have been a couple of games where we played through the lines and played really well with the ball on the floor.
“That’s the mix I want to have, to be able to do both. We’ve done both and controlled games in that manner, but then it’s that final ball around the box.
“I’m on to the players at the moment about the movement, the awareness, the thought process around putting balls in the box from the right areas, attacking the ball. That’s the hardest part of the game – that’s why centre-forwards cost the big money.
“We played some really good football last Saturday and for 75 minutes were the better team. But Blackburn created better chances than us in those 75 minutes.
“If you’ve got to be resolute and you’re not creating loads of chances, when shooting opportunities come within 20 yards of the goal you’ve got to do better as a team. And you’ve got to make sure you defend well and not give anything away.
“When a centre-half sticks it in your bottom corner from 25 yards that’s a bit of a kick in the nuts. That’s the level we play at and that’s the beauty of the Championship, the good teams will find ways to score goals.
“A lot of work will continue over the coming months to make us better. For me as a manager it’s about finding a formula, getting the right players playing the right way. With a new group that takes time.
“I’m enjoying working with the lads and finding a way. What I do know about this group of boys is that they want to learn and improve, and they want to be better.
“Most of them have played at this level for a couple of years now or longer. They’re established Championship players and comfortable at this level, it’s just making sure we find that mix in the whole team.”
Jiri Skalak and Frank Fielding are Millwall’s only absentees through injury.
Mark Warburton’s QPR are aiming to break into the top six this weekend. They have 13 points after seven games following their 3-2 win over Luton last Saturday. The Hoops are seventh, four points ahead of the Lions in the Championship table.
Possible Millwall team: 4-4-2: Bialkowski; McCarthy, Pearce, Cooper, M Wallace; J Wallace, Leonard, Thompson, Ferguson; Bradshaw, Smith.
Match odds: Millwall 7/5 Draw 11/5 QPR 9/5
Last season’s fixture: Millwall 0-0 QPR
Image: Millwall FC