After being sold to Norwich earlier in the transfer window, Lions fans could have been forgiven for thinking we wouldn’t score any goals. But in all honesty Steve Morison, so far, hasn’t been at all missed!
Instead, Lion’s fans are seeing the dawn of a new hero in SE16. Step up, Darius Henderson. The former Watford and Sheffield United target man has had a bright start in a Millwall shirt. Two goals in his first two games have helped Millwall up to fourth in the Championship; early days of course but an unbeaten start with plenty of positives.
Following a 2-2 draw on the opening day to play-off finalists Reading, manager Kenny Jackett bemoaned the lack of options on his bench. With Josh McQuoid injured and Shaun Batt still recovering from injury, attacking options were limited. 48 hours later and The Den boss brought in Leicester City forward Dany N’Guessan and he made an instant impact with the winner away to Plymouth in the Carling Cup.
Fast forward to Saturday and the failed England manager Steve McClaren arrived at the den with his Forest side that narrowly beat rivals Notts County on penalties in the League Cup during the week – prior to kick off, Millwall mascot Zampa the Lion paraded on the pitch with an umbrella to the amusement of many of the supporters in the ground.
In a game that the home side dominated, the win was just rewards for a determined performance against the not so Tricky Trees. For small spells in either half Forest kept the ball well, but in the final third there was no end product. The closest the visitor’s came was when USA international Robbie Findley hit the base of the post.
Seven minutes in and after heavy pressure from the off, the Lions broke the deadlock. James Henry whipped in a corner that was remarkably back heeled in from Henderson to the amazement of the Forest defence, and the goal scorer himself.
The second half, new signing N’Guessan came off the bench to pick up the ball in his own half and show great pace down the right wing to deliver a ball which fell into the path of Liam Trotter to stroke home from six yards to secure all three points.
Since joining Millwall, both N’Guessan and Henderson have shown signs of doing well at the club – both appear shrewd transfers, out of left-field from Kenny Jackett. If both can sustain fitness and form then both will prove to be very astute singings come later in the season.
Steve McClaren sarcastically thanked Millwall fans for the ‘fantastic welcome’ he received on Saturday. McClaren, as well as every other manager, should know they will never get off lightly when they enter the Lions’ den. If come out the other side with a result, you know full well you have earned it.
Next up is newly promoted Peterborough, a team I know a little about. Being at university up there, I’ve had the opportunity to see a few of their Tuesday night fixtures. A win at home to Crystal Palace and then Stevenage in the Carling Cup gave the Posh the perfect start to the season. Darren Ferguson’s men fought bravely in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Blackpool last weekend for their first defeat of the season.
They are an organised team that score goals and create bundles of chances. With their gung-ho mentaility and strong centre back pairing of Gabby Zakuani and youngster Ryan Bennett, it will be a diffucult test for Kenny Jackett’s side.
The Posh are in a similar situation to us though, losing their top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith. An excellent player and a big loss. Having said that they don’t look like they have missed him so far, much like us with the sale of Morison.
Buoyed by promotion they will be looking to upset the Lions on their own patch. A few people I know, one in particular (you know who you are!) really want to beat us. I don’t fancy the stick I’ll get at uni if we lose, so it’s a must win for the Lions on Wednesday night! I predict a close game, but Millwall’s experience to shine through. A 2-1 win and another three precious points.
Every game in this division is difficult and we will have to be on our game again if we want to get more important early points on the board.
In KJ we trust!
Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger
Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18