Reuniting old acquaintances

Last updated : 08 August 2003 By Neil Andrews
It's been nearly three years since Millwall played Wigan Athletic but there's still no love lost between these two sides.

The animosity can be traced back to the Auto Windscreen Shield Final of 1999 when Wigan beat the hot favourites with a last minute (handled) goal. Since then both sets of supporters have enjoyed some classic encounters from a fixture described by Lions striker Neil Harris as "a local derby. Except we're 250 miles apart!"

The two teams met on the opening day of the season after that Wembley final, and the spoils were even as they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw. Wigan were 3-0 up with twenty minutes to go but a spirited fightback by the London side saw them draw level in the last minute. They later met in the play-offs, and it was Wigan who enjoyed victory once again in a closely fought contest which saw the Latics sneak through 1-0 over two legs thanks to a Darren Sheridan freekick.

However, it was Millwall that had the last laugh as both teams went head-to-head for the Championship the following year. On a tense day in South London, top met second and it was The Lions who ran out victors thanks to a Paul Moody hattrick.

Tomorrow sees Millwall unveil a new forward line-up with new signing Noel Whelan set to start upfront alongside Neil Harris. Tim Cahill returns to the midfield while loan-signing Juan is expected to replace the departed Steve Reid on the wing.

The good news is that former Lions target Nathan Ellington is out after undergoing surgery during the summer.

Cheer Up Mark McGhee
Expectations are high at The Den, and Mark McGhee has stated that the team are gearing up for a promotion push. The Lions boss is also hoping to sign four new faces before the transfer deadline in order to bolster a very young squad and with so many first teamers contracts up at the end of the year, McGhee knows that this is a make-or-break season in every sense of the word.