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The Newcomers

Our guide to the six clubs newly entering the Sky Bet Championship in 2019/20

30 May 2019

As Millwall evaluate the 2018/19 season and look to improve over the summer months into the exciting prospect of the 2019/20 campaign, The Lions will be taking on six new clubs as part of next term’s League fixtures. Here we take a look at the new sides competing in the Sky Bet Championship…

Barnsley

Barnsley make an immediate return to The Championship this summer after achieving automatic promotion from League One.

The Reds embarked on a hugely commendable 20-game unbeaten run in the League, and managed the whole season without defeat at home. Daniel Stendel’s side only dropped out of the top six for one week during the campaign, and return to the second tier having suffered relegation heartache on the final day of 2017/18.

Millwall’s last meeting with Barnsley came on a snowy afternoon at Oakwell in March 2018, as goals from Lee Gregory and a stunner from Ben Marshall secured a sixth straight Championship away win for The Lions. Also that season, Neil Harris’ men eliminated The Reds from the Emirates FA Cup, with a 4-1 Third Round victory.

Cardiff City

Cardiff also prepare for a Championship campaign after a one-year absence, having been the last of the three clubs to suffer the drop from the Premier League.

Neil Warnock’s side completed the season with 34 points, and were consigned to relegation in early May. The club have, however, built a strong spirit under the manager following a difficult season marred by January’s tragic passing of Emiliano Sala. Between November and December saw Cardiff’s campaign hit its positive peak, claiming five wins in nine.

The last meeting of The Lions with Cardiff came in The Bluebirds’ promotion season of 2017/18, a 1-1 Den draw in February 2018 as Gregory again netted. The reverse fixture in South Wales ended in a goalless draw in October 2017.

Charlton Athletic

Joining Millwall in next season’s Championship are South-East London neighbours Charlton. The two clubs will contest derbies at both The Den and The Valley next term, following The Addicks’ 2-1 Wembley victory over Sunderland in the League One Play-Off Final.

A sluggish start to the campaign for the side, whom manager Lee Bowyer took over from his initial caretaker spell last September, saw them sit in the bottom half at the end of October. Charlton would then go on to lose just five more games, including just one in their last 15, to enjoy a late surge into third place. Eliminating Doncaster Rovers on penalties in the Semi-Finals, Bowyer’s men then sealed passage past Sunderland to end their three-year absence from the second tier.

The 2016/17 season in League One served up the last derbies between the two sides. A goalless draw at The Valley followed a 3-1 for The Lions at The Den – Steve Morison (2) and Aiden O’Brien among the goals.

Fulham

Fulham make a quick return to the Championship after a 19th-place finish in the Premier League.

Another fellow London outfit, Fulham’s Play-Off success of last year was dampened by a shock poor run of form, following initially encouraging strengthening of their squad by former manager Slavisa Jokanovic. A spell under Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri fared just as frustrating for Fulham fans, with caretaker manager Scott Parker securing three wins to send The Cottagers down with some pride.

Expected to be a strong force in 2019/20, Fulham were the last club to visit The Den in the Carabao Cup, where they took a 3-1 win from The Lions. The West Londoners also claimed two victories over Millwall in the 2017/18 season, with our last win in this fixture coming at Craven Cottage in the 2014/15 campaign.

Huddersfield Town

After two memorable years in the Premier League for the first time, Huddersfield Town return to The Championship following long-inevitable relegation this season.

With The Terriers defying all odds to secure Play-Off heroics in 2017 and further to stay in the top flight in their debut season, the West Yorkshire side – now managed by Jan Siewert – struggled throughout 2018/19, claiming just three League wins. The 16-point total saw Town face the drop in March, albeit with significant time to build ahead of 2019/20.

You would have to go back to 2014/15 to revisit the last meetings between Millwall and Huddersfield, with our opponents coming out on top in both Championship fixtures.

Luton Town

The final of the half-dozen new Championship competitors is League One champions Luton Town, managed by incoming coach Graeme Jones.

Starting the season under now-Stoke boss Nathan Jones and later taken over on a caretaker basis by Mick Harford, Luton put together a sensational 28-match unbeaten League run which steered them to the summit of one of the most competitive League One promotion races in recent years. Their 94-point total sees the club return to The Championship after suffering in non-League in 2014.

Millwall have lost just one of their last 10 against Luton, with the last meeting between the sides coming via a 3-1 Football League Trophy victory at Kenilworth Road in 2016.


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