Scunthorpe could get revenge for defeat at The Den
Sky Bet League One playoff semi-final first leg
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm Thursday
Barely a month has passed since Millwall beat Scunthorpe at The Den in a Sky Bet League One clash, but the Iron can avoid a similar result when they return to south London for the first leg of their playoff semi.
That defeat sparked Scunny back into life after a tough few weeks and prompted a five-match winning streak which saw them cement third place in the table, nine points ahead of Millwall.
In that sequence were a gutsy 1-0 win against Bolton and away-day triumphs at MK Dons and Swindon and they look a confident bunch going into this massive tussle.
The Lions are the even-money favourites yet their form has been mixed heading into the post-season, which they only squeezed into in the final few minutes of Sunday’s games courtesy of a last-gasp 4-3 success at Bristol Rovers.
Conceding three goals to the Gas hints at what has been a headache for Millwall all season long – they’ve had only one clean sheet in their last ten and Scunthorpe, the second-highest scorers in the division, know their way to goal.
Indeed, Millwall have won only four of their last 11 games since a 6-0 hammering at Spurs in the FA Cup.
Boss Neil Harris, who was in the Lions’ ranks when they lost to Scunthorpe at Wembley in the 2008-09 playoff final, has also had to lift his side from a bug that swept the camp at the weekend. Even up to yesterday, several first-team players had barely trained this week.
They are ordinarily strong at home, though another worry must be that their most recent home match against Oxford ended in a 3-0 drubbing.
Last year’s beaten playoff finalists will use bad memories from 12 months ago as an incentive though they are up against it playing a Scunthorpe side who have been making excellent progress for four years.
Prolific scorer Josh Morris has hit the buffers since nabbing his 19th in late February. But they have happened upon a top-class front pairing in Paddy Madden and Ivan Toney, the on-loan Toney having scored five in his last seven games.
Both are Wembley playoff winners, Toney as recently as last May, for Barnsley against Millwall.
Of the last ten League One playoff first-leg ties, only two have produced home wins.
Scunthorpe draw no bet
1pt 7-4 Betfred, Sky Bet
Shaun Hutchinson should be available despite having a cracked rib. Jed Wallace and Calum Butcher hope to have recovered from a sickness bug which has swept the camp.
Right-back Scott Wiseman is a doubt with a knock. Replacement Jordan Clarke (toe) should be okay. First-choice keeper Luke Daniels has been out for a month.
Scunthorpe failed to score in only two of their 26 away matches this season.