Date: 17th May 2017 at 11:55am
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Millwall may not be a club when you think of respect or even a club that you may respect, but one thing Millwall definitely deserves this coming weekend is respect. I’m seeing many horrible comments about the club, many “neutrals” attacking Millwall and irrespective who their opponents are, want to see them get beat, but is that fair? The family club of the year do deserve respect, they have many true supporters that love football and just want to support their local team win, lose or draw. The Lions got to Wembley fair and square through hard work, talent and hunger, and one player of their squad I see a big part of that is Jordan Archer.

At only 24 years old, Archer may not be vastly experienced, he may still be a little bit wet behind the ears, but he has earned the right to represent one of the fiercest clubs in the land, many away supporters are intimidated by them and this young keeper stands right in front of the Lions week in week out between the sticks.

Is Archer experienced enough for the big occasion?
In his short career, Archer was a youth player at Tottenham Hotspur never making an appearance for them, which to be fair, how often do we hear of a home grown youth keeper breaking into the first team in the Premiership? Since joining Millwall in 2015, initially on loan, Archer has amassed 93 appearances in all competitions and has made the Lions’ No.1 jersey his own. Still a lot to learn and a lot to experience, the young Londoner has had a fantastic run in the FA cup this season, keeping a clean sheet in 4 of the 5 games he played in, Southend may not sound impressive and ok, he conceded 2 at home to Braintree, but for a 24 year old to keep out Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester City is no mean feat especially when his side went down to 10 men against the then current English Champions. 12 months ago, young Archer will have mixed emotions, he played at the most famous football ground in the world, but he did let Barnsley get 3 on the board.

Jordan Archer, where and how many?
Let’s concentrate on Archer’s league career, early loan spells at Harrow Borough and Bishop’s Stortford wouldn’t have a fair representation of his ability.
Millwall – 93 games – 35 clean sheets
Northampton – 16 games – 3 clean sheets
Wycombe – 29 games – 9 clean sheets

Seasonal stats
2016/17 – 44 games – 15 clean sheets
2015/16 – 49 games – 20 clean sheets
2014/15 – 16 games – 3 clean sheets
2012/13 – 29 games – 9 clean sheets

On average Jordan Archer keeps a clean sheet in just over a 3rd of his games and on a personal note, last season by far his best keeping the opposition from scoring in almost half of his games. It is clear he is playing best for Millwall and under the stewardship of Neil Harris, and one very good thing about Archer signing for the Lions, he is getting game time. We have had our fair share of quality keepers on loan and full time, one great example Scott Loach from Watford. Initially Loach made a massive impact and still relatively young, in recent years he has struggled to get first team football in the 4th division and this year has been relegated with York City. Quality young keepers are kicked to the side for foreign imports or just not given the chance by older dodgy custodians and we see them falling down the leagues. If or when Millwall go up, I would like Archer to be given the same opportunity, even though he is producing at the moment, given the chance, he can have a fantastic career long term. It would be a crying shame if Harris brought in a more ‘experienced’ name and then left Archer to rot on the bench. Archer was crowned player of the year for Millwall last season and is a current Scotland U21 international.

This season.
In 44 appearances Jordan Archer has achieved 15 clean sheets making 83 saves in all competitions, on average that’s 2 a game. Discipline nothing exceptional or unusual, Archer has received 2 yellows all season, one in the league away to Chesterfield and one at home in the FA cup to Southend, both games Millwall won. I will mention it again, clean sheets against 3 Premiership clubs in Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester City. Recent form, goals have been leaked, 15 in the last 7 games, 3 of those fixtures 3 goals have been conceded in each game and only 1 clean sheet in the last 9 games.

Jordan Archer vs Bradford City.
Archer struggles a bit against the Bantams, in his 8 appearances against Bradford City, Jordan has only managed a sole clean sheet in a draw early last season. Also of note, Millwall hasn’t kept a clean sheet in the last 5 games against City.
City vs Millwall – Jan 2017 – Goals conceded – 1
Millwall vs City – Sept 2016 – Goals conceded – 1
Millwall vs City – May 2016 – Goals conceded – 1
City vs Millwall – May 2016 – Goal conceded – 1
City vs Millwall – Mar 2016 – Goals conceded – 1
Millwall vs City – Oct 2015 – Goals conceded – 0
City vs Wycombe – Mar 2013 – Goals conceded – 1
Wycombe vs City – Feb 2013 – Goals conceded – 3

Will Jordan Archer keep a clean sheet at Wembley?
I very much doubt it, even though Archer has had a very good 2 years at Millwall, the Bantams are a bit of a hoodoo to his record, if everything averages out, you would expect City to have drawn 3 or 4 blanks in those games which featured Archer. From those 8 goals scored, only 2 of the scorers are still at City, McMahon and Meredith, neither a striker, our strike force is a bit more potent with the likes of Wyke and Jones, people criticise that we don’t score a lot, I say, really? In the last 23 games, we have only failed to find the net in 2 games, our last outing, playing it safe away at Fleetwood with a starting 11 that cried goalless draw all day long, it didn’t matter as we won the first leg, and the loss away to Sheffield United, no crying shame as they are a quality outfit. Archer should have a very busy afternoon, and will be one of his biggest tests so far in his short career.

A look at our Wembley opponents Part 1 – Neil Harris.
A look at our Wembley opponents Part 2 – Lee Gregory.

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