The Den, Saturday 20th September 2014, kick off 3pm
Millwall Form: LLWLD
Nottingham Forest Form: WDWWW
- After a fast start Millwall’s form has dramatically fallen away, winning just one game from their last five. Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest have extended their unbeaten run the 7 League matches following their dramatic comeback against lowly Fulham.
- Last season’s encounter at the Den resulted in a 2-2 with Millwall letting two leads slip from their grasp, goals from Andy Reid and Nathaniel Chalobah secured a point for the Reds.
- The Lions will be looking to gain their third win in four games at home with Forest searching for another victory on their travels, after impressive away wins at Bournemouth and Sheffield Wednesday.
Despite back to back losses in the Championship Millwall will be Satisfied with their start to the 2014/15 campaign, after showing some promising signs of improvement under Ian Holloway. The former Blackpool and Palace gaffer joined the Lions after a disastrous start to last season under Steve Lomas, Holloway had a slow start but, ultimately, managed to pull Millwall out of the relegation mire and finish 4 points above the drop zone. With a summer and full pre-season to build his own squad Holloway will be hopeful that his squad can handle the substantial rigours of the Championship and challenge for a top half finish.
Last time out the Lions succumbed to a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Reading, with former Forest man Simon Cox bagging twice to snatch a late win for the Royals. Holloway will be frustrated that, after recovering from 2-0 down, his men couldn’t hang on for a precious away point. However, he will, no doubt, be pleased with the spirit and determination his men displayed after clawing their way back into the game against an in-form Reading outfit.
The East-Londoners’ summer was a busy one, with multiple players taking the exit door at The Den. But where there are outs, there are ins. The most notable of these being Ricardo Fuller and Carlos Edwards, both proven, quality signings for the Lions. The common problem with so much disturbance with a Club’s playing staff is a gelling period. After an initial bounce in their first two fixtures, perhaps this is what they are now suffering from. Despite this, optimism should be high amongst the Millwall faithful.
Nottingham Forest have retained their position at the pinnacle of the Championship after a scrappy derby-day draw and an unbelievable encounter with Fulham, from which they departed victorious. These four points are, without question, indebted to goalscoring phenomenon Britt Assombalonga. A clinical finish against Derby, which resulted in ecstatic scenes around the City Ground and a well taken hat trick against Fulham has already secured the Congolese man as a fan favourite on Trentside. 8 goals in 7 games will earn the lethal forward plaudits from all directions, but he needs to continue this fantastic form if Forest want to maintain their promotion challenge.
Wednesday evening was a tricky game, to say the least, for the Reds. Fulham showed tremendous fight given their position in the League; performances like that will not get them relegated. Following Forest’s ascension into a two goal lead, a brace from £11 million man Ross McCormack and a neat finish by Hugo Rodallega presented Fulham with an opportunity to gain their first win of the season. However, a moment of incredible, individual brilliance from Michail Antonio opened the floodgates for Forest who scored two more to win the game 5-3.
Emotional tributes have been made to Forest legend Brian Clough throughout the week, a rapturous applause at the Derby game and a fitting entrance against Fulham, where the players took to the field with ‘Brian Cloughs’ either side of them. The legendary manager would have been proud with some of the tactical manoeuvres that Stuart Pearce has made in his first few months in charge at Forest. In midweek it was his decision to push Antonio forward which paid dividends. Amongst the positivity, a major blow has occurred for the Midlanders; captain Chris Cohen has suffered his third cruciate ligament injury in three years. Desperate luck for the skipper has resulted in suggestions for a dip into the loan market for Pearce.
Will Millwall highlight the unpredictability of the Championship by ending their poor run? Or will Forest fend off the Lions to stay at the summit of the League? I think that this will be a tough, physical encounter where both teams might struggle to create chances, in respect of this, I believe that Forest will sneak it 1-0.