A win and a push last weekend brings Adrian Clarke to 5-3 since commencing his weekend column and he’s keen to keep the profitable weekends rolling with three selections across the Championship and League 1.
Expect a tight affair on Chopper’s return to the New Den
It’s a crying shame Millwall fans won’t be there to show their appreciation for returning hero Neil Harris this weekend but I don’t think the Cardiff City gaffer will be too fussed.
When it comes to work matters ‘Chopper’ doesn’t strike you as the sentimental type.
The Bluebirds boss is a true Lions legend. Not just their all-time record goalscorer, he also steered the club to promotion into the Championship as manager.
Harris returns to Millwall for the first time since his resignation in October 2019 – and make no bones about it he will be desperate to get one over on his replacement Gary Rowett.
Both feisty, both tactically adept, both proud men; this is a match that will matter to them greatly as individuals.
Neither Harris or Rowett will say it out loud but I suspect ‘not getting beaten’ might be their underlying priority.
For this reason, I do favour a draw, which is priced up accordingly at 3.18.
History in this fixture does point that way too.
Remarkably the last five meetings between Millwall and Cardiff City have ended all square.
Putting it bluntly, the Lions love a draw.
Last term they were involved in a Championship-high 17, and they have five to their name already this season, placing them second in the fictional table for draw specialists.
Their last two encounters (at Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday) ended goalless – which is a nod to their renowned solidity – and they will make it hard for the Welshmen to break them down in this one.
Cardiff have talent aplenty but they aren’t in great form.
Winning just one of their last six matches, they have also failed to score more than once in eight of their 11 games until this point.
When you put all the ingredients I’ve just discussed into a pot it does feel like a recipe for low goals.
Only 20% of Millwall home matches have gone over 2.5 goals so far, and it’s exactly the same ratio (20%) for Cardiff City on the road.
It’s never easy predicting how any team will emerge from these pesky international breaks but Millwall v Cardiff does have a distinct whiff of caginess about it.
I like the look of under 2.0/2.5 goals on the Asian Handicap at 1.85.
If this isn’t a tight, low scoring affair it will be a huge surprise.
Joey’s in-form Fleetwood are a solid Saturday bet
It is interesting to see in-form Fleetwood Town odds-against (2.18) to win at home to timid travellers Plymouth Argyle this weekend.
They have both amassed 19 points ahead of kick-off, but for ‘The Pilgrims’, only two of those have been collected outside of Devon.
Under Ryan Lowe they are a decent outfit, especially going forward, but they did fail to beat a struggling Wigan Athletic and didn’t lay a glove on Hull City or Lincoln either.
There’s also a lot to like about Joey Barton’s Fleetwood at the moment.
They’ve recovered from a slow start to build up a handy head of steam, thanks in part to the addition of experienced defensive reinforcements and a return to form for all of their star men up top.
Across their last five fixtures (Fleetwood have won four of them) Ched Evans has grabbed five goals, with striker Paddy Madden and attacking midfielder Callum Camps netting three apiece.
Hitting the sweet spot all at once makes them dangerous opponents for anyone, and I expect early season goal-getter Harvey Saunders to make a return from injury this weekend too.
That’s serious firepower for a League One side.
The Trawlermen have earned 13 points from six home games, conceding just once in their last four outings at Highbury Stadium, so this is a fixture they will expect to win.
When you add in the visitors’ 320-mile journey to get there, plus the fact Fleetwood have enjoyed the luxury of two days’ extra rest (Plymouth drew with Pompey on Monday) you start to wonder how long that journey home from the Fylde Coast might feel on Saturday night.
Love him or loathe him (most opt for the latter!) Joey Barton is doing a terrific job at Fleetwood Town.
I believe they will have too much for Plymouth, so am taking the home win.
- Millwall v Cardiff City Draw 3.18
- Millwall v Cardiff City Under (2.0 / 2.5) at 1.85
- Fleetwood Town at 2.18