We speak to blogger and Millwall fan Lucas Ball ahead of the Swans’ trip to the New Den this weekend…
First a word on last season, your first back in the Championship after promotion. You narrowly missed out on the top six, were you happy with the progress you made?
Of course. We’d have taken 4th from bottom in August so to finish 8th was brilliant. We played some great football and had our away form been better in the first half of the season, the top six may have been an achievable goal. In the end, a lack of clinical finishing – as well as goalkeeping errors – cost us, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable season.
What are your expectations this term?
To be honest, I’d expect to finish in the lower mid-table positions, about 15th. Last year was a freakish campaign and clubs have spent big again, whilst we’ve missed out on a couple of transfer targets, including Ben Marshall who was excellent in the second half of last year. Let’s just get to 50 points as soon as possible and build from there.
As things stand your 16th in the table. How have the opening five games gone?
Average, to be honest. The squad could do with a bit more strength in depth, with some impact players desperately needed. We’ve conceded some sloppy goals, which is disappointing given we had the third best defensive record last year, which won’t be helped by Shaun Hutchinson’s injury, which is expected to keep him out until mid-October at least.
You made a few signings over the summer. How do you rate your business overall?
We strengthened where we needed to, though I’d have liked a couple more players to leave and have a target man and winger come in. Jiri Skalak looks like he could be an excellent addition, though Murray Wallace has had a shaky start. Losing George Saville would be a big blow.
Who are your star men and who needs to up their game?
Jed Wallace is the star man, with his direct running, though his end product needs some work and he has held onto it for too long at times this season. Shaun Williams is crucial in midfield for us, and dictates the tempo of the game.
Ryan Tunnicliffe hasn’t impressed, nor has the aforementioned Murray Wallace, whilst Jordan Archer still has errors in him in goal, so I’d hope to see Ben Amos start.
What do you make of Swansea and which players if any do you fear?
A decent side that are re-building after relegation. I think you’ll finish just outside the play-offs and that would be a decent season for Potter. Oli McBurnie is a quality player and terrorised the Leeds backline a couple of weeks ago, whilst Tom Carroll is a player I rate highly.
Predict the score and where both teams will finish…
Millwall 2-0 Swansea
Millwall – 15th Swansea – 8th