Opposition Truths: Gary Rowett’s Millwall

Form

Millwall finished ninth in the Championship last season and currently sit 10e after the first five games of the season. Their home form has been key so far, with the Lions securing two wins from two – beating Stoke City 2-0 in their season opener before staging an impressive comeback against Coventry City, taking the three points with a 3-2 win. , having lost 0-2 in the first 28 minutes.

Their away form has been more difficult, recording defeats against Sheffield United and Norwich City. However, they drew 2-2 with Swansea City, again coming back from a two-goal deficit – with two own goals in stoppage time helping them salvage a point for Wales.

The Lions won a league double against Reading last season, winning 1-0 at The Den in November before claiming a 0-1 victory at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in March after a goal from former Royal Jake Cooper .

Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

The boss

Gary Rowett: Rowett became manager of Millwall in October 2019, succeeding former Lions striker Neil Harris who resigned with the club sitting 18e in the Championship. Millwall finished an impressive eighth in Rowett’s first season at The Den, two points clear of the playoffs. In fact, the Lions have finished in the top half of the Championship every season under Rowett so far, finishing 11e in 2020/21 and ninth last season.

The former Derby County and Birmingham City defender began his managerial career at Burton Albion before later returning to the Blues and Rams as manager. Prior to Millwall, Rowett managed Stoke City, taking over in May 2018. However, he only lasted eight months in the role and was sacked in January 2019.

Rowett generally prefers to play five at the back, using full-backs. He likes his team to play with “efficiency and solidarity”.

Crew

Similar to Reading’s situation with John Swift, Millwall lost star man Jed Wallace in the summer with the winger moving to West Bromwich Albion, signing a free contract following the conclusion of his contract with the Lions. They replaced Wallace with club record signing Zian Flemming, the highly rated attacking midfielder joining from Dutch Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard.

The Lions have strengthened their squad with defender Charlie Cresswell and midfielder Jamie Shackleton, both on loan from Premier League side Leeds United. They also signed Benik Afobe on a permanent deal after a successful loan spell last season, while bringing in striker Andreas Voglsammer from Union Berlin and combative midfielder George Honeyman from Hull City, both on permanent contracts. .

Millwall v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship

Jamie Shackleton
Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images

Millwall also saw Mahlon Romeo, Connor Mahoney, Maikel Kieftenbeld and former Royal Alex Pearce leave The Den this summer.

Millwall have almost a full squad available for this weekend’s fixture, with Mason Bennett likely the only absentee, as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Expected composition

Bialkowski, Wallace, Cooper, Hutchinson, McNamara, Malone, Saville, Flemming, Honeyman, Burey, Afobe

key player

Jack Cooper: Centre-back Cooper is a familiar face to Reading fans, having come through the academy before making 54 appearances for the Royals. Cooper originally joined Millwall on loan in January 2017 and was promoted to the Championship in his first season with the Lions. He signed permanently that summer and made over 250 appearances for Millwall.

Standing at 6ft 4in, Cooper is dominant in the air, both defensively and offensively, and can regularly be seen coming to the end of corners in both boxes. The Berkshire-born defender has scored 24 goals in his senior career so far and already has one goal to his name so far this season.

One to watch

Tyler Bury: Winger Burey signed for Millwall from AFC Wimbledon in June 2019, after coming through the Dons’ youth system. He started last season on loan at Hartlepool, scoring three goals, before returning to Millwall in January.

Burey made 16 appearances for Millwall last season, scoring twice. The speedy striker was named Millwall’s Young Player of the Season last year and has featured in the Lions’ last four league games.

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