This weekend Millwall welcome the 3rd round of the FA Cup with a home tie against League One side Bradford City. Recently recognised for their superb Capital One Cup run, The Bantams are sure to test the struggling Lions who have managed only two wins since September on the back of a humiliating end to 2014.
Pre match the calls from fans on social media have been for Ian Holloway to send out a youthful side, with the feeling that the youth can’t do as bad as the current seniors. My view is of a similar nature, however I also see how profitable a cup run can be in the FA Cup in comparison to The Capital One Cup. We saw back in August a Millwall side against both Wycombe and Southampton which were rotated and primarily aimed for youth, handing first team debuts to the likes of Jack Powell and Ben Thompson, but also further crucial game time to other big prospects such as Fred Onyedinma and Aiden O’Brien.
These kind of games can be seen as huge positives, with a win against Wycombe, and also the performance against Southampton despite the result. With our side taking the game to a team which only made few changes to their normal Premier League side. After these games we saw few of the names above have a run in the first team too, which is always a crowd pleaser at The Den, with the lack of home grown talent clear to see in the last 10 years.
So the question remains what side to play on Saturday, for me my team would be:
As you can see from my selection its a team that not only has experience, but also a team that gives a chance to the young. Siafa along with Nelson were great for our U18s over a period of a couple of seasons and have sustained this in the U21s. Powell, who was released at 18 from West Ham has come in and also impressed, with his performances in the U21s grabbing many headlines. Gregory needs a goal, all strikers are the same, he needs to get on a run and lead the line in the manner he did with Halifax. Sure, he isn’t playing in the conference now but we paid good money for this player, and half way through the season we need a return on the investment. Fans this week have called for Tom King to also be giving a debut, with current keeper Forde going through a barren spell of late, being culpable for goals and making mistakes on a consistent basis. Having been with us for more than 6 seasons now Forde is a player that needs backing from his manager, therefore I would stick with Forde, who will hopefully see this as a vote of confidence, potentially leading to a change of form.
As for predictions? Obviously the team picked is a big factor but with something similar to the team above I would go for a 2-0 battling win. Yes, I am a very deluded fan but who can blame me for wanting us to do well?