If you’ve not been following this column since it’s inception before the Leeds away game then you might not have heard, I’ve got almost everything right so far!
So read carefully as I give you the stats and my hunches for our upcoming clash against the boys from Bermondsey.
After Millwall’s unlikely play-off push ultimately ended in disappointment last season, Neil Harris’ men have been brought back down to earth with a bump after a dismal run of results at the start of the season, finding themselves in the bottom three for a number of weeks.
However, excellent form over Christmas in winning four league games in a row, along with one defeat in five shortly after, sandwiched in between their FA Cup victories, looked to have dragged them well clear of the drop zone.
Yet three defeats on the bounce, coupled with Reading and Rotherham picking up points every weekend recently, has meant Neil Harris’ men are now nervously looking over their shoulders as they lie just a solitary point above the drop zone coming into the game.
As they go on to play four of the top 6 in their last nine games after their FA Cup quarter final vs Brighton, this is a huge game for them to attempt to correct their recent downturn in results.
Target man Neil Gregory is their top scorer with 7 league goals but is in poor form goalscoring wise, having failed to find the target since their famous FA Cup win vs Everton 6 weeks ago. You have to go back even further in the league as he hasn’t struck since the narrow 3-2 defeat to Preston on 15th December last year.
With his strike partner coming from either Tom Elliott, who scored in this same fixture last season, or the evergreen Steve Morison, Millwall perhaps lack the pacy, clever type of striker that consistently troubles our backline.
To look elsewhere at the goalscorer market then, centre-back Jake Cooper, Irish midfielder Shaun Williams and ex-Wolves winger Jed Wallace have all chipped in admirably this season for the Lions, each currently with 5 goals to their name.
Wallace has three away goals, including the vital winner at Pride Park in Millwall’s last victory. His two other away strikes came against Middlesbrough and Norwich so he has pedigree in scoring important away goals.
He is 7/2 to score anytime and 8/1 to get the game’s first goal.
Wanderers are winless in five home matches since seeing off Rotherham on Boxing Day and have claimed just six points from their last ten home games. Extrapolated over the whole season their home form, as we all well know, is frankly diabolical. A measly thirteen points picked up from seventeen games.
Dire stuff indeed.
Stand-dwelling, beleaguered and still unpaid manager Phil Parkinson will aim to rouse his beleaguered and still unpaid troops to help him increase his head-to-head advantage over his opposite number Harris from his current record of W3 D4 L2.
Historically Bolton also have a solid record in this fixture with 19 wins and 10 draws offsetting 17 defeats, with the only defeat in the last ten encounters home or away coming on the 10th April 2018 in the insipid 2-0 reversal at the then-known-as Macron Stadium.
Unsurprisingly, given previous spectacularly accurate predictions in this column over the past two weekends, the name of Mark Beevers can’t help but rear it’s head when you are looking at Bolton players to trouble the scorers.
The gangly former Millwall man scored the opener at the New Den back on the 24th November which, at the time, broke a desperate run of minutes without a goal for the Whites. His coolness in front of goal belies his often lumbering and clumsy technique with the ball at his feet in defence and he is again likely to cause at least a passing threat to Millwall’s defence when we muster a set piece chance.
Interestingly though, his 4 goals this season have all come away from home. Whether there is any rhyme or reason to that statistic is difficult to say in all honesty but he is a tasty 40/1 to score the first (or last) goal and a tempting 16/1 to score against his old club at anytime.
As a bit of a wild punt, I fancy the look of Bolton to have a player sent off at 7/1.
You can see last week that, despite neither red card particularly being an example of players losing their heads or violent conduct, discipline may be on the wane given our current desperate plight.
I believe it is not inconceivable that the game on Saturday will be a bit of a scrap, to say the least.
A particular candidate, if he starts, would be Joe Williams who as we know is prone to winding the opposition up and also to a wild tackle or two also. As things stand I can’t find a market for individual players to be sent off but if he starts, it might be worth looking for this nearer the start of the game.
There have been Under 2.5 goals in the last 8 meetings with Millwall and I cannot see this trend halting at the UniBol.
As awful as our home form is, I think Millwall may struggle to take the game by the scruff of the neck like the likes of Norwich, West Brom and Preston have done recently at our home.
They have also conceded first in the first half in four of their last six championship fixtures and I just fancy us to put up a decent fight tomorrow, despite the calamitous background to the game.
A draw is really not much use to us and Millwall will see the game as a great opportunity to pull away from their relegation rivals, no doubt fancying a win themselves but my prediction here is 1-1.
This can be backed at 5/1.
So to recap, my predictions, or fancies if you will, are; 1-1 at 5/1, Jed Wallace to score anytime at 7/2 or for those hunting for value, to strike first at 8/1.
Mark Beevers to score anytime at 16/1 or again for value, first at 40/1 (although I see him being more likely to score last at the same price). And finally, one of the beleaguered Wanderers players to be heading down the tunnel for an early bath at 7/1. Or Joe Williams if he starts the game and you can find a market for that.
Here’s to an enjoyable afternoon at the UniBol. That takeover best hurry the f*#$ up! COYWM!!!