BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall have three of their next four Championship matches at The Den – but Gary Rowett has called for caution ahead of Saturday’s home game against Barnsley.
The Lions are unbeaten in seven league matches and have won three of their last four on the road.
Millwall are two points behind sixth-placed Fulham, who occupy the final play-off spot, and next up is a home fixture against bottom club Barnsley.
The Lions have only lost once at home this season – on September 21 against QPR – but have drawn their last two in SE16. They host Brentford on December 29 and are at home to Luton on January 1.
“If you look at our last few at The Den they have been difficult games,” said Rowett. “In truth we have probably been more comfortable away from home in terms of overall results and performances.
“We’re unbeaten but they are hard games. Off the back of a good run everybody looks and says ‘three home games out of the next four – look where we could be’ but I would urge a little bit of caution and just say we have to show that we can be a really good side in any circumstance – whether it’s a game where there is a little more expectation on us, or whatever it is. We have to perform in every game.
“You look at Barnsley coming up, they are in a poor position in the league but their recent form has been pretty good under the new manager.
“These are really tough games and in some ways you play a top team at home – in terms of where they are in the table – and it is a self-motivating game.
“It is one where there is maybe more expectation, they are the ones that can be harder – we saw that against Wigan. We’re going to be heads down, working towards a game we have to be really good in if we want to get any sort of a result.”
Barnsley appointed Austrian Gerhard Struber on November 20. They have taken seven points from a possible 12 and won 5-3 against QPR last time out. The Tykes have not won on the road this season.
“I don’t think their style of play has massively changed but there have been some subtle tweaks,” said Rowett. “They have been playing a diamond midfield quite regularly and that can be quite difficult if the opposition play it well.
“If you look at their form over the last four games it has certainly picked up and they had a fantastic result against QPR.
“Barnsley are a side that can cause you problems. It’s a game where we have to make sure we’re mentally spot on if we want to continue progressing and looking like a decent side.
“If I’m being really honest I never look at a team and think it should be a comfortable game for us. I never do that. They have scored five goals against a decent QPR team who are in a similar position to us.
“We’re going to have to make sure that defensively we are really, really good. We have to play with the same zip we had in the first half against Forest.”
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