Colchester United offered little resistance to the Lions’ unbeaten run this past Saturday, as a brace of goals from Shane Ferguson, coupled with strikes by Lee Gregory and Byron Webster saw Millwall ease to a 4-1 win over the U’s. This Tuesday, they look to make it a perfect ten against a side they have never met before – Fleetwood Town. Cod Army season-ticket holder, John Woolfenden, provides ‘The View From The Opposition’…
Name: John Woolfenden
First Fleetwood game: That’s quite a hard one to answer, as I have very vague recollections of seeing games when I was very young. The first game that I remember with any sort of clarity was the 1985 FA Vase Final at Wembley, when we lost 3-1 to Halesowen Town. With it being the 80’s, there was lots of booze, fighting and general mayhem – none of which I took part in, being only 10 at the time.
Greatest moment following Fleetwood: Most people asked that question would say the Play-Off Final in 2014 at Wembley against Burton Albion. It was a great day, but it was one of them when people who never go turn up in face paint, silly wigs etc.
No, my greatest moment was last season, when we beat Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, 1-2. It really felt like a coming of age, whereby you were at this massive stadium that holds more than the entire population of Fleetwood! The people who were there are the people who go – and have been going – week in, week out. It was against a club that have been in the very upper echelons of the leagues and finally, it was the fact that 250 Cods out sung 18,000 Blades! What a day!
Fleetwood are just one point above the bottom four at the moment – is the aim for this season to simply survive, or is there more to it?: I would be more than happy just to survive. This season, we made the cardinal sin of coming into a campaign without having a recognised goal-scorer and our recruitment has been poor. Because of some poor results, Graham Alexander was sacked, which has left us in a bit of a transition situation with our new manager, Steven ‘Elvis’ Pressley. Obviously, this may take a little time.
What we must remember, however, is League 1 is quite a competitive and close league. Literally, the signing of one or two good players can change your fortunes. We have signed two lads on loan who look very very promising. We are a tough, tough team to play against and in general, we don’t get thrashed too often. If we start scoring goals, who knows.
Millwall are flying high, with just two defeats in 15 and are scoring goals for fun. Do you expect them to be promoted back to the Championship this season?: Now that’s a tough one to call. You have every chance to be up there at the end of the season, because that’s the nature of League 1, in that it will be close at the top end of the table. The January transfer window is a crucial time, as I can see the likes of Sheffield United, Peterborough and maybe Bradford spending a bit. On the other side of the equation (and hopefully without sounding disrespectful), it will be interesting to see if the likes of Walsall, Gillingham and Burton can hold it together for the remainder of the season. There are lots of variables – lots of points still to be played for.
Who are Fleetwood’s ‘ones to watch’ on Tuesday night?: We have two recent loan signings in David Henen and Tarique Fosu, who have come from Everton and Reading respectively. They looked very, very good and ripped Swindon a new one on Saturday. Apparently, Everton paid a multi-million pound fee for Henen, who is a big, strong, pacey front man. He’s looked really good from the two games I’ve seen him.
Fosu is just a bag of energy, who gets all over the pitch. He’s one of those players who seems to be involved in everything. We also have Jimmy Ryan, who for me, is one of the best midfielders in the league. I must mention Eggert Jonsson, who I thought was absolute crap, has got himself fit and is playing well.
Likewise, are there any Millwall players you will be wary of?: Again, that’s quite a difficult one to answer, because with coming up from League 2 and having a season in League 1, I’m quite aware of all the players in clubs that have been around us. With Millwall coming down from the Championship, I only have snippets of TV to judge. It’s good to see (Lee) Gregory in the goals, who was in the same team as Jamie Vardy at Halifax. Both players prove that there is value for money out there. I’m interested to see how good (Shane) Ferguson from Newcastle is, and also (Aiden) O’Brien.
How do you see the game going?: I’m in no doubt that we will give you a tough and competitive game. I think it will be close with…
Score Prediction: …a goal separating the two teams.
John’s Team Prediction: Maxwell; McLaughlin, Pond, Davis, Bell; Ryan, Jónsson, Sarcevic; Fosu-Henry, Henen, Ball.
The first ever meeting between Fleetwood Town and Millwall takes place on Tuesday, November 24th. Kick-off at Highbury Stadium is at 7:45pm.