After Saturday’s defeat; scoring none and conceding three. If you then offered me the result we got last night; a bore 0-0 draw away to a recovering Norwich City side, I probably would’ve taken it.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but with special thanks to the woodwork in the first half, and a couple of smart saves from Bart in goal, we take the point on the board and move onto Saturday’s trip to Hillsborough.
We had the welcome sight of returning manager Gary Rowett back in the dugout, a presence I’m sure helped to re-invegorate the squad in an attempt to bounce-back from the Huddersfield result. We also had a slight change in setup, with the likes of Shane Ferguson, Ben Thompson and JDB (Jón Daði Böðvarsson) back in the Millwall XI for the first time in a long while.
With the above coming in the setup changed with an extra man in the middle of the field, with a 5-3-2 formation instead of the 5-2-3, if these mean much to you when looking at the lineup of the side. Ferguson added that extra man, and from minute one it was quite clear the plan early doors was not to get beat.
Ending with a clean-sheet on the night, the plan obviously worked, with Rowett introducing the likes of Mason Bennett, Shaun Williams and Matt Smith late on. It felt like we could maybe steal the three points, and but for Williams’ last kick of the game effort clipping only the top of the bar, we might’ve just done so.
One strength this side has developed since Rowett’s arrival is demonstrated in the tweet above. Well over a year into his management tenure and not once have we lost two games in a row, over all competitions too. With the introduction of the 5 man defence, breaking records also for shutouts against there is no doubting how much the side has improved in Rowett’s time at The Den.
With Norwich unbeaten since the International break and holding a play-off position pre-match, not a lot of sides in our division will walk away with a 0 against column. Whilst it might be a boring watch or might lead to some criticism for Rowett to setup in this manner, for me we have bigger games to worry about such as the next one up.
Languishing at the bottom of the table, still on negative points after 10 games also, Sheffield Wednesday presents a great opportunity for Millwall to get back to winning ways. With the likes of Ryan Leonard and Mason Bennett sitting out from the start of last nights game, it hopefully presents a chance for them to comeback in and have a match telling impact.
JDB up-front on his own cut a lonely figure last night, it was always going to be a difficult ask for him, and now with the unfortunate news that Kenneth Zohore is now out for pretty much the rest of his loan spell, Rowett needs to think of a new option in that number 9 position. Troy Parrott isn’t far away from a return to action, but without piling on too much pressure I hope he is worth the hype.
Whilst earlier on I give a lot of credit to Rowett for the defensive shape-up of the team, it seems we struggle to get a break up front. With both of his Premier League signings going down with injuries at different points. I certainly hope we can get over that voodoo and bad luck by backing the manager once more in January if necessary. Certainly, if we’re in touching distance of the promise land still by then, the forward line will need to have improved to compete with the likes of Norwich and co.