Match Preview: Millwall vs. Preston North End

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It’s a midweek trip to the capital for Alex Neil and his men as North End face Millwall. The trip to the Den comes after North End ran out 3-0 winners against Huddersfield Town at the weekend with a brilliant team performance which had everything the North End faithful have wanted to see recently.

Goals from Brad Potts, Ched Evans and Scott Sinclair sealed all three points for the Lilywhites with the third goal being the pick of the bunch. A great team goal was finished off by top scorer Scott Sinclair who is now one goal away from hitting double figures for the season.

A free-flowing counter-attack including two outside of the foot passes and a first-time, clinical finish from Scotty which concluded the scoring on Saturday afternoon and the North End fans will be hoping to see more of the same between now and the rest of the season after what has been a tough spell for everyone involved with the club recently.

Millwall on the other hand fell to defeat against high-flying Barnsley who won 2-1 and left Millwall without a win in three matches. Gary Rowett’s side did feel hard done by as the manager was adamant that Barnsley’s first goal shouldn’t have stood and he will surely be looking for a reaction from his side on Tuesday night.

Potential Dangers

Millwall have struggled for consistency but one player who I would highlight as a potential danger in this Millwall side is perhaps an obvious shout but a worthy one nonetheless; Jed Wallace.

The midfielder is experienced at Championship level has had an impressive record at Millwall for a number of seasons, in particular his number of assists. This campaign he has 11 goal contributions (7G, 3A) in 32 appearances and has added more goals to his game this campaign.

One of those goals came against North End in the reverse fixture at Deepdale where Millwall ran out 0-2 winners with goals from Jed Wallace and Kenneth Zohore, a player who Alex Neil said to George at LancsLive only yesterday we’d been interested in signing.

Secondly, I would like to pick out Millwall striker Matt Smith. The big target man has struggled for goals this season, just managing to get three goals so far, but the attacker could cause problems for our backline in the air.

With North End missing Patrick Bauer, Smith has the potential to win the majority of his arial duals against North End’s centre-halves, should he be selected. His record last campaign with 13 goals shows the former QPR striker’s quality at this level.

The striker is quite a clinical finisher despite being tall, a first half hat trick last campaign against Nottingham Forest is a game which sticks in my mind, and shows he is certainly a potential threat come Tuesday night.

Prediction

In terms of a prediction, I fancy North End in this one. The Den is always a tough place to go, but without fans, that factor could be seen as less relevant. As previously mentioned, Millwall are heading into the encounter without a win in three, and with North End looking to build on their four points from the last two games and I fancy us to go and get another three points.

Although I wasn’t too sure before kick-off, it turned out to be a great decision to keep the side unchanged on Saturday afternoon and it wouldn’t surprise me if he kept it unchanged again. However, with our upcoming fixtures, it might need freshening up a bit.

Ched Evans and Brad Potts had the headlines on Saturday evening after the pair both put in stellar performances, however, two players stood out to me were Daniel Iversen and Sepp van den Berg.

The big Dane between the sticks made a number of key saves at 0-0 after Huddersfield were the better side early in the game, and Liverpool loanee van den Berg impressed me a lot, considering it was only his second start at Championship level.

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So as for a starting XI, I’m going to go with the same XI that starting against Huddersfield: Iversen; van den Berg, Storey, Hughes, Cunningham; Whiteman, Browne; Sinclair, Potts, Gordon; Evans.

I think Potts and Ched Evans linked up very well on Saturday, and I would be quite excited to see the pair link up again. I think the defence has looked fairly settled and with two clean sheets in a row, I don’t see a reason to drop any one of them. The only potential change I could possibly predict would be Tom Barkhuizen to start after he looked lively from the bench and got a brilliant assist for Scott Sinclair’s goal.

As for a scoreline, I’m going to go with a 0-2 win to North End with Ched Evans and Anthony Gordon to get on the score sheet for the visiting side and hopefully we will see another performance to take us above Millwall in the table.

Finally, if you haven’t yet, make sure you give Jake’s column in LancsLive a read, and give the latest episode of the podcast a listen.