After two impressive wins on the road, which saw the Lions defeat Crewe Alexandra 3-1, courtesy of an Aiden O’Brien hat-trick, and a 2-0 win over Port Vale, Millwall return to The Den this Saturday to take on near neighbours, Southend United. Ten points from twelve have been picked up away from home, but, as of now, a big fat zero have been won in SE16. Chris Phillips, reporter for the Southend Echo, takes up ‘The View From The Opposition’ ahead of Saturday’s tie…
Name: Chris Phillips
First Southend game: It was a 3-2 win against Rochdale in 1990. I don’t really remember too much about it, other than the fact Andy Ansah scored, so he became my favourite player. Apparently, I was hooked straight away and would always nag my dad to take me there again. We won promotion the next season, but it wasn’t too long before I realised what being a Southend fan actually entailed!
Greatest moment following Southend: I would have to say the play-off final against Wycombe Wanderers in May. I thought the game was over. I had finished my match report and had packed everything up for a quick getaway, because I didn’t want to have to watch Wycombe celebrate. But, next thing I knew, Joe Pigott scored with virtually the last kick of extra time and we went on to win on penalties. Even writing this now gives me goose-bumps!
How have Southend begun the season?: It hasn’t been great to be honest. Early on, there were some good performances which should’ve brought greater rewards, but Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury was quite poor. Scoring goals has been a problem so far but, being realistic, it was always going to be tough for Southend making the step up this season. I think they will have enough to stay up, though and hopefully we can push on from there.
Likewise, what have you made to Millwall’s start to the season?: Millwall have started to turn things around, winning their last three games and, because of Neil Harris, I would like to see them keep on doing well – just not against us! Neil only lives three or four roads down from where my parents live and we used to have a column with him in the paper when he was at Southend. He’s certainly one of the nicest footballers I’ve met and I would love to see him do well at Millwall, after Saturday of course!
In a northern league, Southend fans must be pleased to have a relatively short journey for Saturday’s game?!: Definitely. League One ‘North’ certainly takes its toll and it will make a nice change to be back home in time for the Football League show and Match of the Day!
Who are Southend’s ‘ones to watch’ on Saturday?: Left-back Ben Coker and goalkeeper Daniel Bentley have been the best two players so far this season. However, Ben is struggling with a hamstring injury, so I’m not too sure whether or not he will play.
Are there any Millwall players you feel the Shrimpers will need to watch out for?: To be entirely honest, I really don’t know! The only time I’ve seen Millwall play in recent years we beat them 4-1 in the FA Cup [don’t remind us…] and nobody stood out for you that day. I know the team has changed quite a lot, so it will be interesting to see how the new look side performs. I also know (Aiden) O’Brien scored a hat-trick at Crewe the other day, so I would imagine he would definitely be one to keep an eye on.
How do you see the game going?: Millwall have been struggling at home and Southend have been better on the road, so I think it’s going to be quite even.
Score Prediction: Millwall 1-1 Southend United.
Chris’ Team Prediction: Bentley; O’Neill, Bolger, Barrett, White; Worrall, Leonard, Timlin, Atkinson; Mooney, Pigott.
Millwall v Southend United takes place at The Den on Saturday, September 19th. Kick-Off is at 3pm.