Since the four-goal demolition of basement dwellers Sheffield Wednesday during his first match in charge, Millwall manager Joe Edwards has endured a seven-game winless streak at the club, and recent stalemates against fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town and Stoke City have not provided much Christmas spirit around The Den.
The Lions were the visitors to the bet365 Stadium for Steven Schumacher’s coronation in the Potteries after joining from Plymouth Argyle earlier in the week, and although youngster Aidomo Emakhu had a gilt-edged chance to secure three points late on, Millwall had to hold on for the most part to earn a share of the points.
A first clean sheet in six matches pleased Edwards and highlighted the improving performances of goalkeeper Matija Sarkic, who has taken time to find his feet in between the sticks after replacing Polish veteran Bartosz Bialkowski, with the 26-year-old’s goal-costing errors against Ipswich Town and Sunderland now fading into distant memory.
Ahead of a third-straight fixture against a team directly around them in the Championship standings, Millwall are sitting in 20th place, three points ahead of Tuesday’s visitors to The Den, although it is unlikely that Marti Cifuentes’s men will overtake the Lions even if the R’s win due to an inferior goal difference.
Millwall’s South London home was a real fortress in past campaigns as Gary Rowett’s side looked to break into the top-six picture, but the Lions have won just two of their 11 matches at The Den this season, last tasting success in front of their own supporters against bottom side Rotherham United on September 20.
Since collecting a maximum of nine points from matches against Alex Neil’s Stoke, Preston North End and Hull City, Queens Park Rangers have only managed to earn one from their most recent triplet of contests, losing narrowly at home to Russell Martin’s Premier League-chasing Southampton on Saturday.
Despite their lowly league position, QPR have talents such as playmaker Ilias Chair who can cause the division’s best outfits major problems – as shown by the Moroccan’s first-half display against the Saints – but the visitors from the South Coast produced the game’s only decisive moment, with Taylor Harwood-Bellis firing home at the back post following a set piece.
to the stuttering form of Millwall and Darren Moore’s Huddersfield Town – neither side have won in their last five matches – the R’s are not miles away from safety in spite of their poor recent results, with the West Londoners lying two points behind the 21st-placed Terriers at the halfway point of the season.
Cifuentes will be hoping for an improvement from his side’s last outing in the second tier, when QPR threw away all of the points at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday, with an 86th-minute equaliser from Bailey Cadamarteri and a 94th-minute winner from Anthony Musaba wiping out the R’s opener.
QPR currently have three players leading their Golden Boot race with three strikes each, although Chris Willock has especially impressed since the arrival of Cifuentes, with the attacker finding the net and providing an assist in the 2-0 win over Hull on December 9.