After losing manager Kenny Jackett to Wolves in the summer, Steve Lomas’s Millwall are struggling at the foot of the table. Ahead of tonight’s meeting at the Den, Jay Taylor tells us what to expect from the home side…
What are your expectations for 2013-14?
Prior to the season starting, my expectations for the season were somewhat different to today. Before the season’s start in August my expectations were to be in the top 10 and possibly in and around the play-offs for much of the season. That was then, however. Survival in the Championship is the main goal now and not be involved in a last-day survival battle.
Where teams are around this time of the season is where teams tend to stay. Millwall a currently fourth bottom, with a five point cushion above Yeovil Town. With the squad we have, on paper, we should be a lot higher up in the league.
What’s the fans’ general opinion of Steve Lomas?
Unlike a section of Lions fans, when Steve Lomas was appointed, I was backing him 100%. The new man had a tough act to follow in replacing the most successful manager, in my lifetime, Millwall have had. His ex-West Ham connection bared no significance to me whatsoever, there are many whom feel quite the opposite to my view.
More recently though, results have turned up the heat on Lomas. A 1-0 win against Barnsley papered over the cracks of what was a poor, poor game and performance from Millwall. This past Saturday was a resounding 3-0 away defeat to league leaders, Leicester City. The performance was inept at best and heads dropped too quickly. Something seems wrong, deeper than just the team not playing well. At 1-0, a small section of the crowd were called for the sacking of Lomas. Fast-forward to 3-0, and the majority were calling for his head.
Personally, I’m still reserving judgment until we have reached 23 games in the season, marking half-way into the campaign.
Have there been many changes since last season?
The main change is obviously the management team. Aside from that, tactics, player turnover and playing style has changed.
A 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 system has been implemented rather than the quintessential Millwall formation of 4-4-2. Steve Lomas has added players that are of high-end Championship and to an extent Premier League quality. Adding players such as Richard Chaplow and new fan-favourite, Scott McDonald.
What can we expect tactically?
I think you can expect Millwall to go back to basics on Tuesday night and scrap the 4-2-3-1 system with a 4-4-2 with little and large, Scott McDonald and Steve Morison, leading the line.
Who are the key players to watch out for?
The key player to look out for is, if fit, Liam Totter. Trotter is a curious case as many fans see no point to him in the side but recently in a 4-2-3-1 formation and Trotter missing, there has been a noticeable difference in how we play with and without him. If not fit I would say, Scott McDonald. The Australian’s control and first touch is the best I have seen from a Millwall player in some time. Given the right service I feel he can be a threat to Forest’s goal.
What’s going to happen on Tuesday?
My heart says it will be a instant response from Lomas’s men after an appalling display on Saturday but my head can’t see past a Nottingham Forest win. Recent performances suggest something wrong behind the scenes of the club. A Forest win but after Millwall take the lead.
You can follow Jay on Twitter: Follow @jay_taylor18
Image: Richard Croft (CC-BY-SA-2.0), via Wikimedia Commons