We’re straight back to S71 on Saturday afternoon at 1pm as we contest our third fixture this season against Millwall, and the first at Oakwell.
José’s men returned to home turf after four straight away trips last Tuesday against Norwich City, playing out a 1-1 draw with Oli McBurnie scoring his sixth in Barnsley colours.
The Reds have had mixed fortunes against Neil Harris’ Lions this season, with Millwall eliminating us from the FA Cup with a 4-1 defeat in January, but the reverse league fixture at The Den went our way, with a Tom Bradshaw double and Mamadou Thiam’s penalty giving us a 3-1 victory in September.
Millwall are unbeaten in the Sky Bet Championship since New Year’s Day, and have consequently propelled themselves to 10th in the table – their last outing a 1-0 success over Brentford at The Den. Jose’s Reds sit 21st, three points above the drop zone after the midweek draw.
Neil Harris’ newly-promoted Millwall are have improved their form drastically since the turn of the year. Having not lost a league match in their last 11, the team currently sit 10th in the Championship just six points outside the play-off places, when a significant part of their season was spent looking over their shoulder. Harris guided the club to promotion from League One last season with a 1-0 playoff final win against Bradford City, after losing out to the Reds in the 2016 Wembley final.
Millwall have a proud history, which most notably includes reaching the FA Cup final in 2004 where they faced Manchester United at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. The club have spent the majority of their time in the second and third tiers of English football, though they spent the late 1980s in the top flight after winning promotion from the old Second Division in 1988.
Millwall have a relatively good defensive record, and are a firm unit at the back. Goalkeeper Jordan Archer is likely to retain his place, with understudy David Martin, former MK Dons number one, also possessing plenty of experience between the sticks. Shaun Hutchinson is set to partner promising 23-year-old Jake Cooper in the back line. Byron Webster is another option in defence, as is experienced recent recruit Jason Shackell. Left-back James Meredith has been an important player this campaign, with the right-back berth proving recently to be a battle between Northern Ireland international Conor McLaughlin and Antiguan youngster Mahlon Romeo. The midfield contribute significantly to Millwall’s goal return, with George Saville their leading marksman with nine goals this season. Livewire Jed Wallace is likely to feature along with Ben Marshall and Shaun Williams. Ryan Tunnicliffe is also in contention, and Fred Onyedinma is a regular option from the bench. Former Leeds man Steve Morison has most commonly partnered Lee Gregory in attack, the latter of the front pairing notching the eventual consolation in September. Australia legend Tim Cahill, now 38, is due to be named in the squad again, and Aiden O’Brien, scorer of a brace in the cup meeting between the sides over the winter, is back in training following an ankle injury. Tom Elliott makes up an all-round good ammunition for Harris that may remind him of his own striking successes in the famous navy blue.
In The Dugout
Manager Neil Harris is a Millwall legend. The former Lions forward is the club’s record goalscorer, hitting 138 goals in two spells spanning a decade.
After retiring from his playing days in 2013, Harris took charge of Millwall’s U21 side, and took on numerous spells as caretaker manager before being appointed permanently in 2015. Assisting him in the dugout is 2004 Cup final teammate, David Livermore. Despite this being his first senior managerial job, Harris has done the business at The Den, with two play-off final appearances, a promotion and their remarkable Cup run of 2017. With nine matches still remaining, the Lions have also become outsiders to hunt down a late play-off push.
The Reds have a narrowly superior record in past fixtures against the Lions, with Barnsley winning 24 to Millwall’s 22, including the one apiece so far this campaign. Prior to Millwall’s cup win over us, we had won seven in our last eight of these clashes, including the unforgettable League One play-off final of 2016 at Wembley. Here’s hoping Barnsley can rediscover that positive record as we approach the business end of the season.