Millwall v Everton Saturday 26 January, 17:30 Live on BBC One
Millwall strong at The Den in FA Cup
Remember 2004? Championship side Millwall reached the FA Cup Final and put up a valiant fight against Manchester United only for their trophy dreams to go down by a 3-0 scoreline. That all seems like a long time ago now, but a home tie against Premier League opponents Everton will re-awaken memories. And Millwall, despite their 19th position in the Championship are no pushovers at The Den.
The Lions reached the fourth round with a home win over high-flying Hull City and are now unbeaten in eight home games in the FA Cup (the've lost their last four away). It's in stark contrast to their league form where they are struggling to avoid being dragged into a fight against relegation. After a lean trot where they took just three points in eight matches, Millwall have taken three wins and a draw in the last five.
At home they've had 1-0 wins against both Reading and Nottingham Forest in the last three games, but a 2-0 defeat to Blackburn last time out was a disappointment.
Shane Ferguson scored a brace off the bench against Hull in the last round and could end up starting on Saturday. Manager Neil Harris is likely to name his best XI and, although Tom Elliott is out for up to six weeks through injury, Lee Gregory should start up front and James Meredith could slot back in on the left-side of defence after missing out in the 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough last weekend. A late Boro equaliser robbed a spirited Millwall of all three points.
Harris was himself in the starting lineup for Millwall in the 2004 FA Cup Final and now pits his wits against Everton in a bid to get one step closer to the Wembley dugout. In all competitions as a manager, Harris won his first three matches against Premier League opponents without conceding but has since lost his last two by an aggregate score of 1-9 (0-6 v Spurs, 1-3 v Fulham).
Toffees have struggled away
Pressure is building on manager Marco Silva as Everton's inconsistency frustrates the Goodison Park faithful. Just two wins in the last 10 games see The Toffees loitering in 11th in the Premier League and some way adrift of expectations.
They lost to Southampton 2-1 on Saturday to suffer their fifth defeat in the last seven league games and, with the sums of money spent on the blue side of Liverpool, Silva needs a morale boosting cup run to keep hopes of silverware alive this season.
Defensively Everton have leaked goals this season and a 5-1 thumping of Burnley 5-1 on Boxing Day was an all too fleeting glimpse of their capabilities.
Silva's side squeezed through 2-1 against Lincoln City in the third round and a similar performance on Saturday could spell trouble. Silva fielded a strong side against Lincoln and would be unwise to do anything different at The Den with defender Phil Jagielka the only squad member out with injury.
Everton have progressed from their last 10 FA Cup ties against non-Premier League opposition, last losing in March 2011 against Reading.
Can the Lions roar?
This is a tough away draw for Everton and passage through to the next round is going to be far from certain, despite Millwall's key focus being Championship survival. Millwall are unbeaten in their last eight home FA Cup games (W7, D1), a run that includes wins in their last four games against Premier League opponents Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester.
Everton start as favourites and man-for-man have a far better side at their disposal, but recent form has been a concern, particularly away from home, and they could also have one eye on a Premier League match in Huddersfield only three days later.
The personel in both sides has changed since these two sides last met in 2006. It was a third round FA Cup clash where the game at The Den was drawn 1-1 and Everton went through 1-0 in the Goodison replay. Something very similar this time around is not beyond the realms. You have to go back to 16 September 1988 for the last time Millwall beat Everton in the old First Division, but that was only six matches ago between two sides who face-off infrequently.
In what promises to be a tight encounter, Millwall +1 on the handicap markets at 2.06could be a wise play.
Who bags a goal?
For Millwall, 30-year-old striker Lee Gregory has nine goals this season and holds the most threat for the home side at 11/4, while Shane Ferguson bagged a brace in the previous round against Hull and is full of confidence and could be worth a punt at 15/2.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison have both netted nine Premier League goals this season and are both priced at 13/10 anytime on Saturday. Sigurdsson takes the penalties and edges the choice.
Unders is a play
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Everton's last four FA Cup matches and over 1.5 has landed in their last 25. Millwall games have been less predictable, but their last three home ties have all gone over 2.5. On this season's form, this promises to be a tight encounterhowever.
Millwall are tough to breakdown at home and their priority on Saturday will be to keep Everton at bay. Only two of the last seven games at The Den in all competitions have gone over 2.5 match goals. Everton away from home have only scored over one goal in one game in their last seven away matches.
Back Millwall +1 on the handicap markets at 2.06 (best bet)