Three games now into The Championship for Neil Harris and our beloved Millwall, with only a solitary point on the board for our efforts. A 1-0 defeat away to Forest on the opening day of the season, followed by a 1-1 draw with fellow promotion side Bolton, now you can add a 4-3 defeat at home against current top of the league Ipswich Town.
Despite arguably having the better of the chances and creating more, on three occasions now we still find ourselves winless with sides like Bristol City, Norwich and Wolves to come in our next three Championship matches. It’s a harsh learning curve for a team with not much second tier experience, however we’ve got to learn quick and put the wrongs right and get our first three points on the board sharpish.
Last night was a prime example of our season so far, with visitors Ipswich having four shot on target, and all four ending in the back of the net. Before last night we struggled to convert our well worked chances going forward, but scoring three and still suffering defeat leaves no questions of where it went wrong yesterday.
Flying out of the block with a goal after 44 seconds, we allowed Ipswich back into the game within minutes, something you just can’t do in this league with current number one Jordan Archer flapping at a long range shot he really should’ve saved. With goals few and far between before last night, to let Ipswich back into the game like that after going ahead was appalling. Post match comments from Harris after the game makes Archer’s place in the XI far from safe for Bristol City away on Saturday.
I know we’re saying the same after the last three games, but for me we were the better side last night and but for the mistakes which prove costly at this level, we should certainly have at least one win on the board. It has to come good if we keep creating chances the way we have been so far this season, it just has to.
The shining lights in our opening games have been our summer signings, with the likes of Jed Wallace and Tom Elliott impressing in attack, along with George Saville bossing the midfield. A mention should also go to Conor McLaughlin and James Meredith, with the pair fitting into the side and already looking at home.
The squad has competition for places throughout, with ever presents last campaign such as Tony Craig, Ben Thompson and Mahlon Romeo struggling to get a game. Even Fred Onyedinma can’t get a starting place with players like Lee Gregory and Jed Wallace keeping him at bay.
Credit has to go to Neil Harris for bringing these sort of players in, recruitment has been on point and each new player has brought along the squad talent wise drastically. We’ve got height and strength up front with Elliott in attack, bringing down anything in the air and winning everything air bound against central defenders, making it look easy too.
Having come on and scored yesterday, Elliott has probably played his way into the XI for Saturday’s game, and it will be interesting viewing to see how Elliott and Gregory cope as a combination up top.
In the middle of the park Saville was again a stand out, sounds weird saying after a 4-3 defeat but it proves how costly this division can be when making mistakes. Saville looks an improved version of all of our midfielders put together, strong in a tackle, quick turn of pace with the ball at feet along with the range of passing required to dictate play.
With Wolves spending plenty on Portuguese imports, its allowed us to take on Saville and Wallace, and both look as eager to prove a point at this level. Both in their low 20’s too with plenty of time to develop and become even better players.
Playing with a 4-4-2 you have extra onus on your wide players to get in the right areas and create for the team, Wallace seems to suit the role down to a tee and relishes being the main outlet down the right. Behind Wallace we also have fellow new signing McLaughlin, much like Meredith we have an assured head in defence who can also offer more in attach.
Signing the two best full backs in League One, both have come in and made their positions their own already. However, once again both have next to no experience in the division, demonstrating the challenges we’ve got of learning as we go along this season and learning from our mistakes.
I’d rather get these mistakes out of the way early doors, the performances going forward have been great and we took our chances yesterday, just had to deal with our worst performance defensively instead.
Either way, roll on Bristol City.