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Opposition Lowdown: Gary Rowett’s Playoff-Chasing Millwall

Reading face their third clash with a top-seven side in a row when they take on Millwall at the Select Car Leasing Stadium this weekend. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Millwall v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - The Den Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images


Millwall finished last season in ninth position in The Championship, only six points outside the playoffs. They are having another positive season and look to be in playoff contention again, as they currently sit seventh in the league following 15 wins, nine draws and 11 losses.

Their home form has been key, with the Lions only losing three games so far at The Den. One of those defeats came in Millwall’s home tie with Reading in August last year, when Reading claimed a 0-1 victory after a debut goal from defender Naby Sarr.

Millwall have seen two wins, two draws and one loss in their last five league games. They only dropped out of the playoff places last weekend after their loss to Norwich City.

The boss

Gary Rowett: Rowett became Millwall manager in October 2019, taking over from former Lions striker Neil Harris who resigned with the club sitting 18th in the Championship. Millwall finished in an impressive eighth place in Rowett’s first season at The Den, two points outside the playoffs. In fact, The Lions have finished in the top half of the Championship every season under Rowett so far, finishing 11th in 2020/21 and ninth last season.

The former Derby County and Birmingham City defender started his managerial career at Burton Albion, before returning to both The Blues and The Rams as manager. Prior to Millwall, Rowett managed Stoke City, taking over in May 2018. However, he only lasted eight months in the role and was sacked in January 2019. Rowett typically favours playing five at back, utilising wing-backs, and likes his side to play with “efficiency and togetherness”.


Former Reading loanee Benik Afobe left Millwall during the January transfer window after his contract with the club was terminated. They did however see two incomings – with winger Oliver Burke joining for a second loan spell and Middlesbrough midfielder Duncan Watmore joining on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee.

Millwall will be without forward Mason Bennett and midfielder Billy Mitchell, who are both out with ankle injuries. Midfielder Callum Styles and forward Tyler Burey will also miss out through injury. Midfielder Jamie Shackleton, who is on loan from Premier League Leeds United, could return in time for Saturday’s game.

Expected lineup

Long, McNamara, Cresswell, Cooper, Wallace, Leonard, Saville, Burke, Flemming, Watmore, Bradshaw

Key player

Tom Bradshaw: Striker Bradshaw joined Millwall in August 2019, originally on loan from Barnsley, but the move became permanent the following January. The Welshman started his career at Aberystwyth Town but made a move to the English Football League in 2009, signing for Shrewsbury Town. He spent five years with the Shrews before then joining Walsall, where he spent two seasons, scoring 40 goals.

Bradshaw secured a move to Championship Barnsley in 2016, where he spent two whole seasons before moving to Millwall. He has gone on to make over 150 appearances for The Lions and has scored 37 goals for the club.

13 of those goals have come this season, with Bradshaw the club’s joint top goalscorer. He has just been named Championship player of the month after scoring five goals for The Lions in February. Bradshaw plays as a central striker and has strong finishing skills and good positional sense.

One to watch

Zian Flemming: Attacking midfielder Flemming joined Millwall last July, signing on a permanent deal from Dutch side Fortuna Sittard. The Dutchman started his professional career at Jong Ajax, making his debut for the club in 2017. He went on to join PEC Zwolle in 2018, before a loan spell at NEC Nijmegen and then another permanent move to Fortuna Sittard.

Flemming has a strong goalscoring record for a midfielder and has had a blistering start to life in the Championship. He is Millwall’s joint top scorer with 13 goals to his name so far.

The 24-year-old predominantly operates in the number 10 position but can also play up front. He has strong finishing skills, is effective in the air and holds the ball well.