Crewe will look to put Sunday’s terrible performance behind them tomorrow when Millwall visit Gresty Road.
Millwall are in poor form so far this season. Sitting 3rd bottom of the table (or 2nd bottom, taking Leeds out of the equation), their only points of the season have come from their opening two games of the season – a 1-0 win over Cheltenham and a 0-0 draw at Doncaster. Four defeats have followed, putting manager Willie Donachie under pressure.
They have, however, made a couple of shrewd signings as the season’s gone on. Lee Barnard’s Spurs team mate Jamie O’Hara is on loan at The Den, whilst the loan signing of Watford striker Will Hoskins this week has to rate as one of the best in League One.
Hoskins will probably be making his debut at Gresty Road tomorrow, alongside a certain Dave Brammer. Brammer played at Gresty Road for three years, and once dubbed Dario’s greatest signing (at a snip of £500,000).
Brams, who played a major role in the 02/03 promotion season, left Gresty Road in 2004 in dubious circumstances as he he headed down the road to Stoke City. A unhappy spell at the Britannia was ended in January this year when he was allowed to leave on a free – he eventually signed for Millwall after being publicly turned away by Dario Gradi, a move Dario later admitted was a mistake.
As you’d expect, Brammer has become a fan’s favourite at The Den and a big part in the Lions midfield.
Veteran Millwall defender, Richard Shaw, spoke of his admiration for Crewe this week.
Speaking to the Millwall Official Site: ‘You’ve got to look at them as an example in the world of football where managers are chopped and changed every five or six months, Crewe have been a fine example of loyalty and they also have a consistent string of great young players coming through,
‘In the League One or Championship they always hold their own, they’re a great footballing team and seem to produce a player every year worth £2-3million.’
Crewe Alexandra Team News:
Steve Holland’s first choice defence is depleted with first choice centre backs Julien Baudet (hamstring) and Danny O’Donnell (hamstring) both out with knocks. Chris McCready and George Abbey will be obvious replacements.
On the bench will be rookie keeper Owain Fon Williams. Fon steps in after usual second choice Stuart Tomlinson suffered a broken thumb this week.
Michael O’Connor is a couple of weeks from a playing return, despite returning to training this week, whilst Nicky Maynard is still recovering well from his broken leg. Otherwise Holland has a fully fit squad.
A couple of unforced changes could be made though after Sunday’s performance.
Possible 11: Williams, Jones, Abbey, McCready, Woodards, Moore, Schumacher, Bopp, Roberts, Pope, Barnard.
Player to watch: Byron Moore
Could start his second game of the season and it could be his chance to cement a regular spot. The highly rated 18 year old, who signed a 3 year contract this week, won the Man of the Match award for his performance on the opening day against Brighton.
With the left wing position vacant, Moore will be allowed top pin it down as his own.
Millwall Team News:
Will Hoskins looks set to be handed his Milwall debut up front after signing a 1 month loan deal this week.
Zak Whitbread will return from suspension and may return to the starting line up.
‘keeper Lenny Pidgeley is out with a broken toe, whilst their other ‘keeper Preston Edwards nurses a hand injury. It means loan keeper Rab Douglas (from Leicester) will deputise Chris Day.
Player to watch: Will Hoskins
Having scored 16 goals by January for Rotherham last season, before his £1million move to Watford, Hoskins will be wanting to prove something to both Millwall and Watford as he begins his loan spells.
Match Facts & Stats
Millwall have only won once in 12 visits to Gresty Road.
Crewe have won the last three games against Millwall at Gresty Road.
Crewe win – 6/5
Draw – 11/5
Millwall win – 9/5
Experienced referee Phil Joslin will be the man in black for Saturday’s home game against Millwall.
Joslin has been a Football League referee for 8 years and is no stranger to refereeing Alex games. He’s been referee for one Crewe game of each of the last five seasons, starting the trend in 02/03 when he refereed a rather drab 0-0 affair at home to Chesterfield.
Last season he refereed the away trip to Tranmere Rovers, where Gareth Taylor got the only goal for Tranmere. That day he booked Nicky Maynard and Gary Roberts, both for ‘unsporting behaviour’.
He’s also been referee for Millwall games on five occasions, including twice last season. Milwall fans may remember him for sending off Tim Cahill in the dying moments of a 2-1 win over Coventry in 2003/2004 for two bookable offences.
Last season, Joslin averaged nearly 4 yellow cards per game and handed out six red cards.
He will be assisted on Saturday by D Mohareb and N Smith, the fourth official will be R Merchant.
Crewe 2-0 Millwall
Oldham (A) – 29/09/07