A Boxing Day trip to The Den...
Saturday, 26th December 2015 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One
Sean O’Driscoll’s first away game as the Saddlers’ head coach is a Boxing Day trip to The Den. Walsall, currently second in League One, can go top on goal difference with a win – but only if leaders Burton also lose at Bradford. Opponents Millwall are in 11th place, three points off the play-offs, and are targeting an immediate return to the Championship following last season’s relegation.
Millwall: 11th – P21 W9 D4 L8 F31 A31 PTS31
Walsall: 2nd – P21 W12 D6 L3 F37 A19 PTS42
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
Saturday, 19th December – Millwall 0-3 Gillingham – League One
Ten-man Millwall suffered their first home defeat in seven matches after losing to Gillingham. Dominic Samuel headed the Gills in front before Lions keeper Jordan Archer was sent off for bringing down Cody McDonald, with Bradley Dack converting the resulting penalty. Samuel added a third goal late on.
Team:Archer, Edwards, Webster, Beevers (Onyedinma 82’), J Martin (Ferguson 45’), O’Brien, Williams, Saville, Upson (Forde 27’), Gregory, Morison.
Subs not used: L Martin, Nelson, Thompson, Abdou.
Sunday, 20th December – Walsall 2-0 Port Vale – League One
Super-sub Jordan Cook scored a second-half brace to give Sean O’Driscoll the perfect start as Walsall head coach. The striker made an instant impact, firing home from close range just four minutes after coming on as a substitute. He wrapped up the points with a clinical finish, seven minutes from time.
Team:Etheridge, Demetriou, Downing, O’Connor, Taylor, Chambers, Evans (Mantom 90’), Morris (Cook 60’), Sawyers, Forde, Lalkovic.
Subs not used: Baxendale, Preston, Flanagan, Kinsella, Roberts.
Millwall wins: 36
Walsall wins: 19
6th March 2010 – Walsall 2-2 Millwall
Alan Dunne scored a stoppage-time equaliser as play-off chasing Millwall fought back from two goals down to draw. Alex Nicholls’ cross-shot and Richard Taundry’s rising drive gave the Saddlers a 2-0 lead after 27 minutes. Steve Morison pounced on a Rene Gilmartin error to halve the deficit, and after Walsall’s Matt Richards was sent off, Dunne fired home a late leveller.
Neil Harris – The 38-year-old was handed the managerial reins in March 2015 following Ian Holloway’s departure. A Millwall legend, Harris is the Lions’ all-time record goalscorer with 138 goals over his two spells at The Den. The former striker also played for Nottingham Forest, Gillingham and Southend.
MILLWALL STAR MAN:
Aiden O’Brien – The 22-year-old is Millwall’s top scorer with nine goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick against Crewe in September. The Islington-born forward is a product of the Lions’ youth system and has been capped by the Republic of Ireland at three youth levels. He has also played on loan for Staines, Hayes & Yeading, Crawley, Aldershot and Torquay.
VIEW FROM THE MILLWALL CAMP:
Neil Harris (on Millwall’s defeat against Gillingham) – "I'm pleased with my players in the second half, I thought down to 10 men we wanted a reaction, got a reaction and arguably we were the best team in the second half. You can't give goals away at home, you can't give teams a two-goal head start and be down to 10 men and expect to get anything out of the game. I was pleased with my players for their second half, but overall disappointed with them."
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Top-scorer Tom Bradshaw and left-back Rico Henry could feature after missing the last few matches due to ankle injuries. Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is a long-term absentee.
STAT OF THE DAY:
Walsall have won their last three league matches – each under a different manager: Bradford – Dean Smith; Shrewsbury – Jon Whitney, John Ward and Neil Cutler; Port Vale – Sean O’Driscoll.
SATURDAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES (3.00pm unless stated)
Blackpool vs. Oldham
Bradford vs. Burton
Bury vs. Barnsley
Colchester vs. Southend
Coventry vs. Port Vale
Doncaster vs. Scunthorpe
Peterborough vs. Chesterfield
Rochdale vs. Crewe
Shrewsbury vs. Fleetwood
Swindon vs. Gillingham
Wigan vs. Sheff Utd