Following Saturday’s complete comeback to earth defeat against a very Millwall-esq Cardiff side on Saturday, one of the last games I would have wanted to follow that was Millwall away! By Millwall-esq, I don’t want to do their team a disservice by any means; Forest will be up against a fully committed side buoyed on by a passionate home backing. Forest have tended to struggle at The New Den and if they’re not at it on Friday, it will be a long night for all who have travelled and watching on the box at home. That said, we know Sabri will do his homework and Forests game plan has been far more suited to games away from The City Ground so far this season. Gary Rowett has definitely added a bit of new manager bounce for The Lions and with a bit of previous between him and the Forest fans, I am sure he’ll have that extra bit of motivation to get one over us. I’ll be surprised if Joao Carvalho starts this one and would expect Alfa Semedo to add some steel and physicality into our midfield. As far as predictions go, I’ll take a draw all night long as I am fully expecting a tough evening down in The Smoke.
Millwall fan, Nick Hart offered his thoughts for Friday’s game.
After a tricky start to the season and departure and arrival of managers, how is the Millwall season shaping up following the second international break?
As we head into Friday night’s game, the Lions sit in 13th place in the Championship table – crucially looking up at Preston’s sixth play-off position. This is something that most of us wouldn’t have thought likely prior to the departure of club legend Neil Harris, where avoiding the relegation spots was more the concern in truth.
As a club with smaller resources than most others in the second tier, Millwall has to make the most of its home form. A place where the impact of The Den crowd gives us an edge that few others in the game can match on its day. This is evident from the ‘home form’ table, where we are placed seventh as these notes are being written – with a possible 2nd at stake if we can overcome Forest on Friday.
Our problem under Harris was that the away form was as poor as our results at The Den were good. Turning this around has been an early priority for Gary Rowett, and decent results at Swansea and Birmingham seem to show some progress.
What are initial impressions of Gary Rowett? He was rumoured to be coming to Forest a few seasons back before eventually joining rivals Derby. His appointment seems like a good fit for Millwall and a good opportunity for him to get his career back on track.
My own theory is that Millwall is a kind of ‘rehabilitation clinic’ for the lost and lonely of football. Few choose to come to Bermondsey or dream of it as a kid, but those that do often find it a stage where their career can relaunch – or sometimes perish.
Mark McGhee, Dennis Wise and arguably Kenny Jackett were each managers in need of a welcoming home. Which they each found in London SE16, though I doubt any expected or imagined that football would ever take them here.
Incidentally I exclude Neil Harris’s management from this theory, as has a deep emotional connection with the Lions – maybe too deep in the end.
Like a few others in Millwall history, Rowett arrives as slightly bruised goods following his sackings at Birmingham and then Stoke City. He seems to display the very ‘Millwall’ attributes of honest talking, hard work and more guile than he is often given credit for. Which is just how we see ourselves too. A manager with a point to prove, at a club that prides itself on being the ultimate underdog – as you say it seems a good match.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Millwall outfit? Which individual players do Forest fans need to be looking out for in the Millwall side? Jed Wallace is a name that has been mentioned as a possible January transfer target for Forest.
Strengths – a willingness and indeed an ability to absorb possession football and strike direct on the break.
Weaknesses – I think we struggle against less fancied or less ‘glamourous’ sides. We will struggle at home to Wigan for example. But, for reasons too deep to go into here, we love nothing more than knocking over so-called ‘big’ clubs. Especially ones with two European Cups to their name…
Jed Wallace is playing the best football of his Millwall career right now. Given a freer role to go anywhere and take the game to the opposition, he will certainly attract higher level interest in January I feel. Were I in his shoes and with his talent though, I would want a Premier League contract.
I certainly hope that Millwall FC will want a Premier League fee if he does go – which I hope he doesn’t …
Forest got well and truly done over by Neil Harris’ Cardiff on Saturday. What do you make of Forest this season and which players will you be most wary of?
I can’t write with any great knowledge of this season’s Forest side, I do see that their away form is pretty decent though. So I expect them to play with the classic ‘open’ style that I associate with the club. Should be a decent game with two clubs with contrasting tactics.
It is always a fixture that I look out for, I am old enough to remember the classic Nottingham Forest of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – one of the most exciting sides to watch of my football following life. So even though recent years haven’t been as fruitful as in the past, I always enjoy this match.
Incidentally it will be interesting to see if Lewis Grabban makes an impact. He was one of those promising players who, in the end, flopped at The Den. The welcome, especially on a Friday night, will be er … warm for him. How he responds might tip the game one way of the other I feel.
What’s your most memorable encounter with Forest over the years and why?
For this I have to take you back to 1988. Millwall’s first season ever in the top flight. Forest visited Cold Blow Lane on a warm October afternoon – the Reds being still managed by the legendary Brian Clough at that time.
The atmosphere inside The Den began at manic level, but deflated just after half-time when two Steve Hodge goals put Forest ahead and seemingly well in control.
Just as all seemed lost however, a 79th goal from Teddy Sheringham gave a glimmer of hope. A glimmer that the Old Den more than grabbed onto as the noise levels inside the ground cranked up to eleven.
To this day, I can recall the wall of noise as the Halfway Line and Cold Blow terraces combined into one of the loudest roars of my Millwall supporting life.
Which got louder still, when late substitute Neil Ruddock headed home the equaliser on 85 minutes for 2-2, cue mayhem around the stadium.
In the final seconds of the match, Ruddock went inches close to winning it for Millwall – but somehow the hauling back from two goals behind in a atmosphere akin to the gates of hell being inadvertently opened, seemed more than just reward.
It remains as one of my most cherished Millwall memories. I went home with my ears ringing with the kind of high pitched tone running that get at loud rock gigs (true).
that most of us wouldn’t have thought likely prior to the departure of club legend Neil Harris, where avoiding the relegation spots was more the concern in truth.
What are your predictions for Friday nights game?
Millwall 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Many thanks to Nick from the Achtung! Millwall Podcast for his thoughts for Friday. Very much appreciated at Munich and Madrid!