Millwall The Preview
Thursday, 6th Aug 2009 21:34
On paper and Saints couldnt have had a harder start at home.
As Saints strive to win their first opening day fixture since beating Coventry 1-0 courtesy of an Egil Ostenstad goal in 1999, they could not have had a harder start at home, at least judging by last seasons form.
Having been beaten in the play offs at Wembley Millwall could lay claim to be the best side not to get promoted, although MK Dons & Leeds, both of whom finished higher than the South East London Club , but were beaten in the play off semi finals might differ on the subject.
Last season Millwall could claim that their high league position was built on their away form, with 12 wins to their name only Leicester and MK Dons won more on the road, so Saints face a difficult task, however like Saints the Lions are often slow starters as proved last term when they only picked up a solitary point in their opening three games, which ultimately left them playing a bit of catch up early on, however it has to be said that it was their mid season form that cost them dearly, between 20th December and the start of March they only won twice out of 10 games picking up only 8 points, costing them dearly as they missed out on an automatic promotion spot by only 7 points come the end of the season.
On Saturday it will be anybody's guess as to how many of their supporters travel to St Mary's, in 2003 they bought around 4,000 fans for the FA Cup tie, however on their last visit in 05/06 season they brought down barely 250 for a game that was meaningless for them having already been relegated, however a combination of their near miss last term plus it being the seasons opener should ensure a good contingent of londoners down for the day.
At home their support is to be fair not very impressive, amn average of 8,940 saw a high of 13,261 for the visit of Leicester in March whilst only 6,685 turned out to see Nothampton strangely enough only four days earlier, even the play off visit of Leeds only saw 13,228 through the turnstiles, although with 59,661 in the crowd in the play off final at Wembley its fair to say that well over half were supporting "Wall"
So a diificult task for Saints on Saturday but one that could prove a test of character for the team, on one hand Saints look to be weak in the centre of defence as the signing of Jaidi looks set to be scuppered and little time to go for a second option, but on the other hand we look to have the luxury of Saganowski and Rasiak up front who might just play for a chance to find a higher club and that could just be Saints gain, I for one would not complain if one of them scored the winner on Saturday and come May it proved the difference between a play off place or not.
Photo: Action Images
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