PREVIEW: Millwall vs. Newport County

MILLWALL boss Gary Rowett will give players a chance to impress against Newport County – but will respect the Lions’ “fine FA Cup tradition”.

The likes of Connor Mahoney, Matt Smith and Billy Mitchell could face the League Two side as Millwall aim for another run in the competition.

The Lions have played seven games in the last 27 days and have had to cope with injuries and illnesses in their squad.

Midfielders Ben Thompson and Ryan Leonard are unavailable through injury. Tom Elliott is completing his rehabilitation but won’t be ready to feature.

Goalkeeper Frank Fielding is likely to play for the under-23s next week as he aims for a first 90 minutes in a Millwall shirt since pre-season. Luke Steele is due to go back to Nottingham Forest this month but he was at the Lions’ training ground earlier this week as the squad prepared for games against Luton and Newport.

Jayson Molumby has permission to play from parent club Brighton as he is set to see out the season at Millwall.

Rowett will assess the impact of a heavy December schedule on his squad before picking his side.

“What’s going to be difficult on the back of such a strong run of fixtures is how many players have had to play through things and play all those games,” Rowett said. “We’re looking at that.

“Of course there are a few players that are desperate for an opportunity. But I think we balance that off with the fact that we want to be as strong as we possibly can because the club has got a fine FA Cup tradition. We certainly wouldn’t want to go and make ten changes to the team and not view it as important.

“Also we know that Newport have got a really good tradition of knocking teams out of the cup in the last couple of years.

“It doesn’t matter what team we play, we’re going to have to be as competitive and play with the same quality we have in many other games recently.

“It’s going to be a difficult game but what we’re going to do is we might have to learn some things about one or two players.

“We should be able to give some of those opportunities to players and be a really good team still because those players have played in first-team matches.

“It will be nice to get to the point where it starts settling down and we can get that freshness into the players because there are quite a few of them who have ploughed through those games with unbelievable endeavour.

“You can just feel the effect of that with limited numbers.”

Possible Millwall team: 4-4-2: Steele; McCarthy, Pearce, Cooper, Ferguson; Mahoney, Mitchell, Williams, Skalak; Smith, Bradshaw.

Match odds: Millwall 4/9 Draw 3/1 Newport 5/1

Last meeting: Division Three (February 2, 1985): Millwall 2-0 Newport

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly