Millwall suffered their third away league defeat of the season on Tuesday night at Burton Albion, as the Brewers went to the top of the League One table, courtesy of a controversial 2-1 win at the Pirelli Stadium. This Saturday, it’s back to the FA Cup, as the Lions welcome League Two Wycombe Wanderers to The Den, with both eyes on a place in the Third Round. Phil Catchpole, BBC 3CR reporter for Wanderers and drive-time presenter on Wycombe Sound, provides ‘The View From The Opposition’ ahead of this weekends tie…
Name: Phil Catchpole
First Wycombe game: Wycombe Wanderers 3- 0 Bromley – 24/1/1987, in the Isthmian League.
Greatest moment following Wycombe: Wycombe Wanderers 5 -1 Runcorn – 15/4/1993, in the GM Vauxhall Conference. The night that all but clinched promotion to the Football League for the first time in the Chairboys history. A brilliant performance, with one of the best individual goals I’ve ever seen in the flesh, scored by Steve Guppy, who pretty much ran the length of the pitch with the ball. That night was my first ever pitch invasion, too – and I got a piggy back from Hakan Hayrettin!
Wanderers currently sit ninth in the League Two table – after Play-Off heartbreak last season, is there an extra determination to go one better this time round?: Last season was a massive over-achievement. Gareth Ainsworth has refused to view the play-off final as a heartbreak, much rather a celebration that the club even got that far. I have to agree with him, especially when you consider that twelve months before, the club were on the precipice of non-league football, financial oblivion and took last season on with a reduced budget. With a points target of 61 for the season, where they find themselves in the league table is about right. It’s year two of a five-year plan and stability off the pitch is still the main priority. However, it’s a tight league, so a well timed run could well find the Chairboys in play-off contention once more…
What have you made of Millwall’s season so far? After a shaky start, they now sit just outside the Play-Offs…: I think Neil Harris has done well to change the losing mentality and settle Millwall down. He’ll be learning the trade on the job, but I’m sure he receives the full backing of the Millwall faithful – they will need to stick by him when the mistakes come.
What is the general feeling around the club towards the draw with Millwall? Do fans etc see it as a chance to reach the promised land of Round Three or the opposite? I imagine there has been some talk about our Round Two clash in the 2000/01 season – a game that was part of a run to the Semi-Finals for yourselves…: Wycombe’s record on the road is excellent, so an away tie was always going to be preferable – on the pitch at least. The League Cup tie last season was a close affair and the fact it is fairly local will guarantee a strong turn out from the fans. Ainsworth relishes the underdog status and will no doubt play on this in the build-up, whilst I think many of the fans will believe it’s a winnable game.
Also, for fans of omens, the last time the two clubs met in the Second Round of the FA Cup, Wycombe triumphed (yes, yes, I know it was controversial!) and went all the way to the Semi-Final.
Who are Wycombe’s ‘ones to watch’ on Saturday?: Aaron Pierre – quite simply a menace. Big, strong and with a quick turn of pace, he is a rock at the back and also a handful at attacking set pieces.
Matt Ingram – a young home-grown goalkeeper who has already clocked up well over one hundred first team appearances. An excellent shot stopper, who is often described as the best keeper in League Two. A view I also hold.
Paul Hayes – talismanic striker and captain. When he starts for Wycombe, they tend to do well. As he is getting older, ‘Hayesy’ is now popping up in deeper positions and providing some wonderful passes; a bit like a quarter-back in the NFL.
Likewise, are there any Millwall players you will be wary of? I imagine a certain Mr Onyedinma may appear in your answer!: Young Fred was highly thought of during his time at Adams Park and will certainly be one that many fans will be fearful of. The Chairboys also know a fair bit about Jordan Archer, too, after a loan spell the other year. Steve Morison could be key, as his experience will be a strong test against Wycombe’s young defence.
How do you see the game going?: I think it will be a tight, niggly game and…
Score Prediction: …Wycombe will sneak it by the odd goal.
Phil’s Team Prediction: Ingram; McCarthy, Stuart, Pierre, Jombati; Harriman, O’Nien, Bloomfield, Wood; Hayes (C), Thompson.
It’s Millwall v Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup Second Round this Saturday, December 5th, at The Den. Kick-off is at 3pm.