It’s here! Tomorrow Millwall kick off their EFL Football League campaign with a home game to Oldham Athletic. 69 days since that day at Wembley, Harris and co have had the off season to forget the misery of our defeat to Barnsley, with attentions firmly on earning promotion at the second time of asking.
Our opponents Oldham have had a summer clear out, with 14 new arrivals during the off-season, presenting a complete unknown to the side we played in our last scheduled home game of last season. Oldham also have a new manager, with John Sheridan leaving Steve Robinson steps into the opposition dug out on Saturday, for his first competitive game in charge.
Looking at ourselves, after a stable summer compared to the last, in my prediction for the coming season I really expect us to kick on this season. So with that in mind here is my starting XI for our season opener:
I’m sure it will split opinion, but that’s why I write my blogs for! I think the majority of the team picks itself, and going on the assumption that 4-4-2 is our strongest formation. I believe with only Shaun Hutchinson, Joe Martin and Shaun Cummings unavailable, this is the XI we should go for tomorrow.
Archer starts in goal, and probably will do so for the entire campaign since David Forde’s departure. Having made the position his own last season, confidence wise it’s important Archer gets off to a solid start to the season. With Oldham perhaps not one of the strongest sides in our division, it presents a good opportunity for Archer to get his first clean sheet of the season.
In the heart of defence due to Hutchinson’s untimely injury I’ve elected for Craig and Webster. Having been moved to the middle during the game last Saturday, Craig impressed in what is his best position in the side. Alongside Webster, probably our best defender at the club, combined the two have a no nonsense approach which typically does well at this level.
At full backs I’m sure no one would be surprised to see Romeo’s inclusion, however I’ve also elected for another young full back Chesmain. Having seen Chesmain throughout pre-season, for me he has been the pick of the bunch from our 21’s side. Willing to commit forward and able to recover in defence quickly like Romeo, I believe we could potentially have the two best full backs in the division for years to come.
In midfield I’ve elected for Thompson and Williams. Thompson is probably the first name on Harris’ team sheet after his performances in the second half of the season, and we all hope there is more to come from the youngster. The position next to Thompson is hotly debated, however I’ve chosen Williams for this game. Playing at home against a side like Oldham, we need to be able to get on the ball and attempt to dominate the match. As much as I love Abdou, we don’t get that sort of passing range which Williams clearly has.
On either flank, I’ve chosen Worrall and Northern Ireland international Ferguson. Although some would prefer Ferguson at full back for this match, in my opinion we benefit more with his influence further up the field. New arrival Worrall has also stood out through pre-season, and a lot like Ferguson will get forward and present opportunities for our forwards.
Up top no surprises with Gregory and Morison leading the attack, in my opinion the best partnership in the division. The pair have hit it off throughout pre-season and look ready to continue the form of last season. The understanding between the two when on form seems to constantly disrupt the opposition defence, and brings other players into the game.
So that’s my XI for the game tomorrow, what do you think of my selection and what would your XI be?