Millwall’s unbeaten run ground to a halt on Tuesday night, as Fleetwood Town secured a 2-1 victory at Highbury Stadium. The Lions will look to get back to winning ways this Saturday, as they host Bury at The Den. Shakers fan, Martin Hoyles, provides ‘The View From The Opposition’ ahead of this weekends match-up…
Name: Martin Hoyles
First Bury game: v Reading in 1985 – we won 3-1. I was only 5 and I loved the experience of watching live football. I’ve been a season-ticket holder ever since.
Greatest moment following Bury: 26th April, 1997. Away at Watford, needing a point to guarantee promotion to Division 1 (The Championship as it is now). It was the 88th minute and Gordon Armstrong gives away a penalty – Tommy Mooney steps up to take it, but Dean Kiely manages to save it. It seems crazy saying that a 0-0 draw is my greatest moment, but it will take a lot to beat the atmosphere and the celebrations of that day. Funnily enough, we went on to beat Milwall at home in the following game to win the league!
Bury have had a great start to the season – what’s been the secret to success? Do you feel you can maintain the challenge for a top 6 place?: Without a doubt, it’s down to the signings we made at the start of the season. Bringing in players like Leon Clarke and Tom Pope has helped a huge amount, especially when we were leaking a lot of goals and had the attitude of ‘it doesn’t matter how many we concede, as long as we out-score them’. Keeping hold of Danny Mayor was a huge bonus as well. In my opinion, Chris Hussey has been on top form again this season and is making a big difference to the squad. We seem to have a habit over the last couple of seasons of playing ‘goalkeeper roulette’ – this season, we’re already on our fourth ‘keeper, due to injuries and loanees not being good enough.
Tom Pope was briefly a target for Millwall over the summer – how has he been getting on so far?: Tom has been in great form and is involved in some way for most of our goals. He’s a good, solid centre-forward and causes havoc in the oppositions defence, especially when playing alongside Leon Clarke – they’re the best strike partnership we’ve had for quite a while at Bury. Signing Pope showed the ambition we had at the start of the season and showed that we weren’t just going to be happy trying to stay up, which, being honest, we usually do following a promotion season.
What have you made of Millwall so far this season? The Lions lost at Fleetwood on Tuesday night, but that defeat was their first in 10 in all competitions…: To be honest, Millwall are one of those clubs where you never quite know what they’re going to do – they’re a club I usually stay away from when putting my weekend bets on. They had a dreadful start to the season, but have managed to turn it around and are now slowly creeping up the table. I think that come the end of the season, Millwall will be pushing for a play-off place, if not automatic promotion.
Who are Bury’s ‘ones to watch’ on Saturday?: I’ve already mentioned Leon Clarke, Tom Pope and Chris Hussey, but we’ve taken midfielder, Joseph Dodoo, on loan from Leicester City. He scored a hat-trick against us in the League Cup earlier in the season and looks a huge talent, scoring 4 goals in 3 games for Leicester. Hopefully we can keep hold of him until the end of the season. Ex-Manchester City player, Kelvin Etuhu, is another one to watch – he’s your typical solid midfielder, who’s not afraid to put in a hard tackle where needed.
Likewise, are there any Millwall players that you will be wary of?: I think we need to be wary of Aiden O’Brien; from what I’ve seen from highlights and match reports, he looks a tricky and dangerous player to play against – it doesn’t look like we can afford to give him much space and time on the ball. I’m a fan of Mark Beevers as well – he’s the sort of player I’d love to see in our team and I think Milwall are fortunate to have him. (I agree!)
How do you see the game going?: I think it’ll be a tough game for both teams. I think Bury will take the lead, but I have no doubt that Millwall will score. As I’m a betting man, this match will be the first I put on my ‘Both Teams To Score’ coupon for Saturday.
Score Prediction: Millwall 2-2 Bury.
Martin’s Team Prediction: Bachmann; Riley, Cameron, Clarke, Hussey; Etuhu, Dodoo, Pugh, Jones; Pope, Clarke.
Millwall v Bury takes place at The Den on Saturday, November 28th. Kick-off is at 3pm.