Both of these sides were labeled as relegation fodder at the start of the season, yet both are surprising everyone. With Millwall sat in 10th and Barnsley in 13th, there’s certainly not much between the two sides and both managers will still believe that their clubs are still in with a shout of netting a playoff place.
With Millwall only gaining promotion to this division last season, it was no surprise to see Kenny Jackett’s men labeled as relegation contenders at the start of the campaign. However, the New Den outfit have surprised all and with Jackett’s men accumulating thirty nine points from their opening twenty seven games, they will be looking more towards the playoff places than over their shoulders. Most of their success is due to recent form and having only suffered one defeat in their last ten league outings, they certainly head into this game full of confidence. However, that defeat did happen to be their last match when they went down 4-2 away at Leicester. With that, it will be interesting to see how the Lions respond as they prepare for this Friday night fixture.
Barnsley may be a few places lower than their opponents, but their supporters must be delighted with the way their season is turning out. Just like Millwall, they were also expected to struggle yet Mark Robins has transformed the Oakwell outfit on a shoestring budget. Having collected thirty seven points so far, the playoffs are still quite far away but their fans will be thrilled with the fact that eleven points now separates them from the bottom three. There were grave concerns that the club would not be able to cope with the departure of eight-goal winger Adam Hammill in this transfer window, yet since he left the Tykes have collected four points and it could quite easily have been more. They managed a rare away win in comfortable fashion at Doncaster on Tuesday night and with Danny Haynes, who happens to be Hammill’s replacement, grabbing both, the future appears bright at Barnsley.
On the team news front, Millwall are without a host of players for this one. Darren Ward, Tony Craig, Paul Robinson and Josh McQuoid are all struggling with injuries and all look set to miss out. Elsewhere, there is some good news with new signing Craig Eastmond hoping for a debut, but Jens Berthel Askou will miss out through suspension. It’s much quieter for Barnsley on the other hand who just have the one doubt, as Stephen Foster faces a race against fitness after picking up a shin injury midweek.
Barnsley actually don’t have a bad record at the New Den, although we think they will come off as second best here. Millwall is a tough place to go and while they did lose their last game, in general they have been an extremely strong outfit in recent weeks. With that, we’ll predict a narrow 1-0 victory for the home side.