Tuesday has already come and gone however what was new in recent weeks is that the lions walked away with a point and a clean sheet. Despite the sending off of young Sid Nelson the Lions dug deep and managed to get a deserved point, with Jos Hooiveld for me in particular claiming the Man of the Match award. It was the first time in a long while that I walked away from a game happy and content, okay, there are clearly still issues to solve for example scoring goals. But to see the side in the second half fight in the way they did, it felt like a Millwall side to be proud of, I don’t think I was the only one as they went off to a standing ovation.
The game itself wasn’t a game of the finest, Reading were probably the better footballing side but rarely caused trouble with Pavel Pogrebnyak leading the front line on his own. Simon Cox later came on and managed to test David Forde however apart from that we looked comfortable. I now hope Holloway sees this formula and sticks with it, he loves to chop and change the back line and believes this is the best way to results. He has once enforced change with Nelson now being suspended for tomorrow but barring that I’d not make many other changes to the side. Diego Fabbrini is something else, the man is a complete Football player, buys free kicks with ease with his dribbling and touch causing defences tonnes of problems. What also makes him standout for me is his persistency, he might lose the ball but he will keep persevering and always willing to take ownership of the ball. In a team that is short of confidence this is a fundamental element you need, however I’d love to see him play behind the striker on Saturday, the No. 10 position is all about him and he will be very effective there.
Moving onto another signing who impressed on his debut was Jos Hooiveld, having only arrived the day before the 31 year old looked right at home in the side, becoming a calming influence and willing to pass out from the back and take ownership. He looks a natural leader, something which Shittu did bring however the latter lacked in quality at this level now and it is time to part ways. Hooiveld reminds me of Beevers but a more experienced version, which is why I’d keep hold of him. One moment of the game I noticed was in the second half and we had won a free kick, Dan Harding wanted to take however desire only knowing his team mates for a day Hooiveld ran over and clearly told Harding that Williams was to take. Williams did take the free kick for Hooiveld himself to get on the end of it and nearly score but for Adam Federichi making the save. It’s things like that we miss in the side this season, last season Nicky Bailey was the enforcer and what he said went. It leaves a lot of optimism in me, rightly or wrongly. Cowan-Hall also impressed when coming on at half time and hopefully he might be able to force a start on Saturday, the pace on him was surprising as we haven’t had that in our side for a long while. We didn’t see much forward work from him as we were down to 10 men but his tracking back was worth noting.
Moving onto Saturday I would make 2 changes, it looks as if Dunne will be with Hooiveld at the back, but I’d also bring in Cowan-Hall for the HOF or Gregory with the side lining up in a 4-2-3-1.
What would your team be tomorrow?
Thanks for reading!