Richard Cawley provides four takeaways from Millwall’s 2-2 draw at Luton Town yesterday, a result that still leaves them in the Championship play-off picture.
IT’S STILL ON
Seven matches to go and it’s still hard to say which of the teams already in the box seats for the play-offs are going to make it.
Every game is big for Millwall in their run-in but back-to-back home matches – considering how good their form has been at The Den this season – is absolutely huge.
You won’t get any of the players or management saying it publicly, but six points are needed from the fixtures against Swansea City and Barnsley to really bring them through the pack above them – especially with Forest having two games in hand on Gary Rowett’s side.
That would take the Lions on to 64 points and mean their campaign is still not over as the finishing line comes firmly into sight.
GO ON DEN
If we’re focusing on the positives for Millwall – and reasons to remain encouraged – it has to be that four of their last seven are in SE16. The Lions are unbeaten in their last seven games there, winning five of those and keeping clean sheets in six of them. That’s seriously impressive.
Their only loss at The Den since October 16 was 1-0 to Nottingham Forest. I know it’s all about the result, but even that was an impressive display by the South Londoners, who were on the receiving end of a smash-and-grab by Steve Cooper’s men as Lewis Grabban suckerpunched them at the death.
WHAT ABOUT THE AWAYS THEN?
This is the Championship, where even what looks an easy stretch of road can suddenly see the spike strip whipped out in front of you and shred your tyres.
But Preston and Birmingham have both taken nine points from their last eight matches and neither has the extra motivation and urgency that results will greatly change their season.
Bournemouth on the last day could be a whole different proposition. Scott Parker’s side have righted themselves after a wobble in November and December, they’ve won seven and drawn two of their last 10 in the league – taking one more point (23) over that period than Fulham (22).
STRIKERS IN FORM
There were milestones for Tom Bradshaw and Benik Afobe at Kenilworth Road as they both hit 100 career goals.
Bradshaw has got a century at club level while Afobe, on a season-long loan from Stoke City, also moved into three figures when you add in the one he netted for Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both were excellent finishes.
Bradshaw seemed to surprise James Shea, striking the ball first time as Jed Wallace’s persistence gave him a shooting opportunity. The striker admitted afterwards that he could not remember the last time he had scored from outside the box.
Bradshaw has eight goals in 17 Championship appearances this season, averaging one every 128 minutes – only putting him behind Aleksandar Mitrovic (85) and Ben Brereton Diaz (127).
Afobe is also a frontman in form. After frustratingly having to sit out the 2-0 defeat at parent club Stoke – straight after banging a brace in his best performance in a Lions shirt against Huddersfield – he marked his return in Bedfordshire with a confident, first-time finish from Oliver Burke’s cross.
With goal difference potentially coming into play, Millwall (+3) and QPR (+4) are at a disadvantage without a bit more of a swing in the coming weeks.
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