Millwall v Scunthorpe: League One Play-Off Preview

Football
Updated Friday 5th May 2017, 12:56 PM


It’s sixth-meets-third in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-finals at the New Den on Thursday night, with Millwall hosting Scunthorpe United. Revenge for the 2009 League One Play-Off Final at Wembley, in which the North Lincolnshire side overcame the Londoners 3-2 to clinch promotion to the Championship, will be at the forefront of Millwall supporters’ minds, but who will take the all-important advantage into the second leg on Sunday? Sports.net previews the action.

How the Bookies See it:

  • Winner: Millwall evens, Draw 12/5, Scunthorpe 11/4 - Bet365
  • First Goalscorer: Gregory (MIL) 4/1, Morison (MIL) 11/2, Madden (SCU) 13/2, Morris (SCU) 15/2 - Betfred
  • To Qualify: Millwall 8/13, Scunthorpe 6/5 - BetVictor

Form

  • Millwall made a faltering start to the campaign, battling it out in mid-table before a three-month unbeaten run between Christmas and late March sparked a surge towards the play-offs. A draw with Gillingham and defeats to Fleetwood and Oxford in April meant a nervy trip to Bristol Rovers on the last day of the regular season, but a late header from Shaun Hutchinson in a 4-3 win ensured the Lions held off a challenge by Southend to finish in the top six.
  • Scunthorpe United topped the League One table from mid-September until they were deposed at Christmas. They seemed to have come unstuck in February and early March as they failed to win in nine attempts and dropped to fifth, their lowest position of the whole campaign. However, the Iron enter the play-offs as the form side, finishing third after winning each of their last five games of the regular season, including a comprehensive 3-1 home defeat of relegated Coventry on Sunday.
  • A brace from Paddy Madden and a Hakeeb Adelakun strike earned Scunthorpe a 3-0 win over Millwall at Glanford Park in December, before the Lions emerged victorious in the reverse fixture on 1st April. An early penalty from Shaun Williams and goals from Shane Ferguson and Aiden O’Brien earned the home side the spoils on that occasion, with Scunthorpe’s Matt Crooks netting a 94th minute consolation in a match that ended 3-1.

Sports.net’s View

Undoubtedly, Scunthorpe have the wind in their sails coming into Thursday’s game, but they will be keenly aware that their recent five-game winning run was preceded by that humbling at the New Den. Millwall boss Neil Harris cited that 3-1 victory as a factor when he claimed having the home leg first was exactly what he wanted, despite the consensus of opinion being that the advantage is with the club that hosts the second game.

Paddy Power has 16/1 on that scoreline being repeated, but it seems more likely in a two-leg tie that Graham Alexander will set up his Scunthorpe team to frustrate the home side, before taking them back to home soil. Bet365’s 12/5 on a draw seems good value, with William Hill providing 10/1 on it ending 0-0 and 6/1 on there being a goal apiece.

Millwall’s Lee Gregory knows how to find the back of the net, and 4/1 at Betfred is a decent price on him doing so first on Thursday night to add to his 17 for the season and the pair he notched up at the weekend. The home side are far from a one-man strikeforce, though, with Aiden O’Brien (13/2 at Betfred for first goalscorer) chipping in with 15 and veteran Steve Morison (11/2) bagging 14 so far.

For the visitors, Paddy Madden has gone on an out-of-character seven games without a goal and can be backed at 13/2 with Sky Bet to rectify that with the opening strike of the game. In addition, on-loan Newcastle man Ivan Toney has bagged six goals in nine starts for the Iron and should return to the first eleven after being rested for the clash with Coventry. At 9/1 with Paddy Power to score first and 7/2 from Betfred to get on the scoresheet at any time, you’ll find great value on a player who is desperate to impress his parent club ahead of their Premier League campaign next term.

Whereas the visitors have dominated in the league over the course of the season, Millwall have excelled on special occasions, dumping Premier League sides Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester out of the FA Cup. This game should prove much tighter than the two league encounters between the sides, and it’s likely to end in a draw, which will tee up a mouthwatering tie in North Lincolnshire on Sunday night.

  • Sports.net’s Top Tip: Millwall v Scunthorpe to end in a draw, at 12/5 with Bet365.

Please note, odds may fluctuate.


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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2017 12:56:59+00:00
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