Millwall have drawn Premier League side Bournemouth in the Third Round of the FA Cup.
Neil Harris’s men meet the south coast club on January 7 after confirming their place in the competition with a barnstorming 5-2 win against Braintree Town in the previous round.
They face stiff resistance in the form of Eddie Howe’s team – who join the competition in the third round as a Premier League side – having shocked title challenging Liverpool FC last weekend, coming from two goals down to win 3-2 at the Vitality Stadium.
Harris has positive memories to draw on against Bournemouth in cup competition.
His Millwall team was on the winning side in an FA Cup tie 2007, the only time the two clubs met in the contest, and his stunning hat-trick dumped the then League Two side out of the League Cup in 2009.
Times have certainly changed, and high-flying Bournemouth will be heavy favourites despite playing a Lions team on five wins out of five in all competitions.
Harris told Millwallfc.co.uk: “This is a really good draw for us… First and foremost getting a home tie was the main priority and I am delighted with Bournemouth.”
“It’s great to give yourselves a challenge against a Premier League team. Under Eddie Howe they are a club that has really progressed in last five to seven years. It’s going to be a real tough challenge against a top Premier League side.”
Harris had played against the Cherries before in the FA Cup, and although Millwall will be the clear underdogs in the january tie, he is not fazed by the challenge presented by Premier League opposition, and believes this is a chance for his side to cause an upset:
“In FA Cup games everything goes out of the window, League positions count for nothing. It’s a great opportunity to test ourselves against players of international quality. It’s a challenge and certainly a game to look forward to.”
Despite Harris’ excitement, he will be reminding players that the clubs main priority is focusing on the games between now and the Third Round, with the first challenge coming up tomorrow night against Wycombe.
The last time Millwall progressed from the Third Round of the FA Cup was in 2013, when they upset Premier League side Aston Villa on the way to the Semi-Final, before losing to surprise winners Wigan Athletic at Wembley.
Does history beckon for the Bermondsey based club? Millwall show good form coming into this one, they are at home and just a win away in the league from the play off places with a game in hand, but Bournemouth are likely to be too strong for the League One club. Team selection can play a factor in these ties, and it is not inconceivable that Howe will err on the side of rotation.
Even so, Bournemouth exhibits a superior brand of football to many Premier League teams and can be so devastating on the counter-attack. If they are given the time to play their style at the Den, it could be a tough afternoon for the Lions. Prediction: 3-1 to Bournemouth