Millwall cemented their position in the League One play-off zone last Saturday with a gritty 1-0 win over Sheffield United. This Saturday, the Easter programme begins with a tricky looking trip to fellow promotion rivals, Bradford City. Tim Penfold takes up ‘The View From The Opposition’…
Name: Tim Penfold
First Bradford game: March 1997 v Manchester City – we lost 3-1 and our goalkeeper was sent off.
Greatest moment following Bradford: It’s a tie between Chelsea last season and the League Cup semi final in 2013, where we booked our place at Wembley – cannot split them.
The Bantams sit level on points with 6th placed Barnsley as we go into the final weeks of the season – is that where the club expected to be?: It’s about where we expected – we have something like the 6th highest budget in the division after last season’s cup exploits and after finishing 7th, we were hoping to push on. It’s taken a while for us to get going, though, as we had some delayed recruitment due to a possible takeover and quite a few injuries to key attacking players.
With Saturday’s opponents Millwall four points in front of yourselves in 5th place, is this a must win to save the end of your season being a straight fight for the last play-off spot?: I’d say it’s must-win for catching Millwall, but Gillingham have wobbled recently, so not winning doesn’t necessarily doom us to 6th at best. At this stage of the season, things can change quite quickly.
Who are Bradford’s ‘ones to watch’ on Saturday? Are you missing any players due to international duty? (Millwall are missing three): We’re missing three key players, all loanees – Reece Burke and Josh Cullen from West Ham, who have both been excellent, and Lee Evans from Wolves. Annoyingly, Cullen and Burke are youth loans, so don’t count for missing the game.
As for ones to watch, Jamie Proctor’s been in good form recently and his partnership with Billy Clarke looks promising – Kyel Reid is always dangerous on the wing and Tony McMahon’s set pieces provide probably our main goalscoring threat.
Which Millwall players do you think Phil Parkinson will need to watch out for?: Your strikers. Our central defence is missing two key players in McArdle (injured) and Burke, so keeping Morison and Gregory quiet will be vital. Parky knows all about Gregory, though – he tried to sign him from Halifax, but we couldn’t afford the fee.
Finally, how do you see the game going?: It’ll be tight – our defence is good, but we don’t score many. First goal could well be key. I’m going for…
Score Prediction: Bradford City 1-0 Millwall.
Tim’s Team Prediction: Williams; Darby, Clarke, Thorpe, Meredith; McMahon, Routis, Knott, Reid; Clarke; Proctor.
Bradford City v Millwall takes place at Valley Parade this Easter Saturday, March 26th. Kick-off is at 3pm.