Well it’s not been that bad of a start, has it?
Regular readers will remember that a fortnight ago, I spoke of the need for the Lions to hit the ground running in their attempts to win promotion back to the Championship.
Bar a mad five minutes at Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday, they have done just that.
Of course, the 2016/17 campaign has barely begun – only two matches of the allocated 46 have been played – but as has been spoken about previously, a slow beginning has often seen Millwall playing catch-up towards the end of the season.
The opening day saw a relatively routine victory over a struggling Oldham Athletic side. With the Latics enduring a similar situation to that of Nigel Spackman’s reign at The Den, Neil Harris’ side perhaps couldn’t have asked for a simpler start to the season – but it is important to remember that there will be many, many tougher tests in SE16 along the way.
Last Tuesday’s EFL Cup tie at Barnet could have produced a banana skin for Millwall, but the way they clinically went about destroying the Bees by four goals to nil – despite five changes – suggests that the Lions mean business this season, whatever the competition.
Finally; as eluded to above, a mad five minutes at Stadium:MK on Saturday saw a 2-0 lead squandered and a share of the spoils given, but in spite of that, Millwall pressed their recently relegated opponents for long periods and were unfortunate not to travel back down the M1 with all three points.
The tie with the Dons was the first of a tough week, in which the club’s promotion credentials will be given an early workout.
On Tuesday night, they travel to Peterborough United, whilst this weekend, bookies’ favourites Sheffield United will visit SE16.
All four sides will more than likely frequent the top six in League One for large parts of the year, so the outcome at 5pm on Saturday afternoon will probably give a small indication of how the Lions’ season is likely to go.
The Posh and the Blades are sure to make the defence work more than Oldham and Barnet ever could, but having scored nine goals in three games so far this campaign, you have to feel that Harris’ outfit are capable of outscoring any team.
Lee Gregory, Steve Morison and Aiden O’Brien are already off the mark, whilst in David Worrall, Millwall have a genuine threat out wide – not only in a creative sense, but in a goalscoring one, too.
Early signs suggest that the former Southend United winger looks a real find; his goal on Saturday was expertly taken and a clear sign of the talent he possesses.
If he can carry on his early form for the entire season, then the club have one hell of a player on their books – not to mention a potential Player of the Year candidate, too.
The likes of Worrall, Gregory, Morison and O’Brien will be pivotal in helping Millwall score the goals necessary to keep them at the right end of the table, but at the other end, it will be the defence that will need to shut teams out and make sure Jordan Archer keeps picking the ball out of the net to a minimum.
With Shaun Hutchinson currently sidelined, Tony Craig and Byron Webster have taken on the mantle of the manager’s first-choice centre-half pairing. They were troubled by the raw pace and trickery of Kieran Agard and Daniel Powell at MK Dons, but when it comes to aerial battles – a trait used by most League One sides – the two have all bases covered.
As already stated, there will be many harder tests on the long and winding road that is the League One season, but if the team can continue to win games at The Den with the ease and efficiency of the Oldham one, then the prospect of another promotion tilt looks likely.
Pound for pound, is there a better side than Millwall in League One this season? I guess this next week will reveal all!