For all the talk of a recent revival in Berkshire, Saturday’s opponents Millwall have gone through a similarly impressive one. Having appointed Gary Rowett not long after Mark Bowen took charge in Berkshire, the South London side have shot up the table, going from the bottom half of the Championship to eighth place - just one point off the playoffs.
It’s a fine turnaround, and one that could well end in promotion to the Premier League at the end of this season. This week’s Town End guest writer, Millwall fan Alex Grace, is optimistic of that happening. We asked him about that and plenty more in the Q&A below.
What do you make of the job done by Gary Rowett so far?
Gary Rowett has done a brilliant job so far. He’s not added any players to his squad but has found a way to get a bit more out of the group than what Neil Harris was managing to do. His record speaks for itself: just two defeats in 13 games and a rise up to eighth in the table. A change in away form has helped the cause. Victories at places such as Swansea City, Bristol City and Derby County, playing a 5-2-3 formation which has worked so well.
Millwall are well in contention for a top-six spot this season - do you have what it takes to get promoted?
Why not? Everyone has the chance to do it. We would love to be up there in the play-offs at the end of the season. We came close a couple of seasons ago but just ran out of steam at the end of it. If we keep playing the way we are playing right now then who knows what could happen come May - another Wembley trip? I wouldn’t mind that.
What are the main strengths of this Millwall side?
Attacking set-pieces have been a huge plus for Millwall this season. The size of our team has a massive impact. The likes of Matt Smith, Jake Cooper and with deliveries from Jed Wallace and Connor Mahoney they are a real plus for us at the moment.
Any weaknesses for Reading to exploit?
As crazy as this may sound but defending set-pieces has also been difficult. Think back to goals we’ve conceded at Cardiff City and against Luton Town have come from poor marking and letting people go in the area. That’s something you can’t afford to do especially against Reading who can rely on the deliveries of John Swift.
How’s former Royal Jon Dadi Bodvarsson got on at the Den so far?
It’s been a tough start for Bodvarsson. He found it hard to get into the team at the start of the season and is yet to stake a regular position in the team and get a run in the side. He is yet to score his first league goal for Millwall but has found the net twice in the League Cup. I would like to see him given a run in the side but it’s hard with the form of Tom Bradshaw at the moment as well as Matt Smith and Aiden O’Brien.
How do you see the game going, and what will the score be?
I think it’s going to be a really interesting game. I was at the reverse fixture which Reading won 2-1. It was only Rowett’s second game in charge. He has only lost once more since then so I will be intrigued to see how far we have come since then.
The game also pits two in-form teams together so it really will be an interesting game. Scoreline wise with us being at home I just fancy us to nick it, but I think it will be a tight game with the Lions nicking it 2-1.