Fans of Millwall could be forgiven for being satisfied with a mid-table finish this season. After being promoted from League One into a Championship that is more competetive than ever. But, Neil Harris finds his men just a point outside the play-off positions.
We discussed a few weeks back the potential of Millwall gatecrashing the play-offs. They were on an unbeaten run of 11 games after just defeating Brentford 1-0 at The Den.
The next set of fixtures was key for Millwall, winnable games against teams in and around them in the table. Barnsley & Forest were the next opponents. Both have been dispatched with relative ease.
Lee Gregory and Ben Marshall managed to score the goals that saw off Barnsley, whose form was indifferent leading up to the game. With on-loan striker McBurnie, they always carried a threat going forward.
This weekend saw a return to The Den and the visit of Nottingham Forest. A club that many see as an institution of football that should be gracing the Premier League. In recent years, they have been a tumultuous side, expectation has always been too high. They find themseles in 16th place, safe from the drop but nowhere near challenging the top 6.
Millwall took advantage of what could be seen as complacency, a lack of intensity from Forest. Taking the lead within a minute through Shaun Williams. Lee Gregory continued his fine form to put the game to bed before the half time whistle.
Neil Harris is a hugely popular figure at Millwall, the way he progressed the team this season is increasing that stature. Promotion to the Premier League would cement his place as a hero at the club.
Millwall are an unlikely candidate for promotion. The club carry a stigma from decades ago that will strike fear into the authorities of football should they gain promotion. But the club has a history and feel about it like no other. Intimidating, passionate, the underdog. A fanbase that loves its club and everything to do with it, a stadium that encapsulate the atmosphere of lower league football and projects it to the higher level.
They may not be a popular choice to go up, but the story of their season is great. The results deserve it, the effort deserves it, the fans deserve it.