As good as Millwall’s away form is this season, the home form is the complete opposite. For the first time in the clubs history, the opening four home league games have all ended in defeat, after Southend’s smash and grab 2-0 victory last Saturday. This weekend, the Lions welcome Rochdale for their first ever visit to The Den. Dale fan, Colin Cavanah, takes up ‘The View From The Opposition’ ahead of the game…
Name: Colin Cavanah
First Rochdale game: First game was when I was seven, in 1981. No idea who the opponents were at all. Probably a Hereford United, or someone of that ilk. It was undoubtedly a drab Division Four game, which ended goalless, in front of 1,200 supporters. Enough to leave me hooked for life.
Greatest moment following Rochdale: My favourite moment was when we won the penalty shoot-out in the play-offs against Darlington, back in 2007 to reach Wembley. Obviously, it’ll come as no surprise to find out that Wembley was disappointing and over rated, but the getting there was what it was all about. Our recent promotions were fantastic, but both were pretty much expected by the time they happened, but the penalty shoot out had the whole season (and 30 odd years of nothingness) all riding on one single kick (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMzPoFBbTcg).
How have you viewed Rochdale’s start to the season?: Its been pretty good. Having spent most of the 70’s and 80’s in the bottom four of Division Four, we reached the stage where we put winning re-election on our honours sheet. In doing so, it brought a mentality instilled in many of us that the first priority every season is avoiding relegation. So, we look upon the start as being a great start at avoiding the drop.
At the end of the day, we’re in fifth place and are sitting nicely above nineteen other teams who have all got significantly bigger budgets than we have. You can’t ask for much more than that when you get home crowds of less than 3,000.
Millwall are sitting in the middle of the League One table, having lost all their home games and being unbeaten away – how do you expect them to do this season?: I expected Millwall to finish mid-table. I know its not been a million years since you were down at this level, but it’s a division dominated by Northern Oiks, with precious few of them having delusions of grandeur that being a massive club will be enough to see them walk the league.
Millwall v Rochdale is a fixture that doesn’t appear often – I imagine there’s quite a few Dale fans looking forward to Saturday’s trip?: Yes, there’s quite a bit of interest, as I reckon for 95% of our fans, it’ll be the first time they’ve ever seen a game between the two clubs. We’re not going to come down and pack the away end, but I reckon there might be 500-600 of us making the journey.
Who are Rochdale’s ‘ones to watch’?: We’ve developed quite a good reputation in recent years for bringing through young players at the club – there’ll be plenty in the side on Saturday. The pick of the bunch is Jamie Allen. He’s only 20, but plays with a maturity beyond his years. He needs to add a few more goals to his game, but he will control the game with his passing. He’s a local lad, who has been with us since he was nine.
Are there any Millwall players you feel your team will have to be wary of on Saturday?: Being brutally honest, I don’t know many of your squad, but that’s more to do with my own lack of knowledge about other teams rather than looking down on you. A few of our fans were after us to go after Lee Gregory when he was firing the goals in for Halifax a couple of years ago.
How do you see the game going?: Well I was quite confident about our chances, until I heard that you’d lost all your home games so far. Runs like that have to come to an end at some stage.
Score Prediction: Millwall 1-1 Rochdale.
Colin’s Team Prediction: Lillis; Cannon, Lancashire, McNulty, Kennedy; Allen; Vincenti, Lund, McDermott, Bunney; Henderson.
Millwall v Rochdale takes place at The Den on Saturday, September 26th. Kick-Off is at 3pm.
(I returned the favour for Colin – that interview can be found HERE)