Blackburn boss Michael Appleton expects another blood and thunder match with Millwall

Michael Appleton complained of a few 'cheap shots' from Millwall players in the game at the Den. Photo: PA

Michael Appleton expects his Blackburn side will have to come through another bruising encounter if they are to book a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Rovers host npower Championship counterparts Millwall in a sixth-round replay tomorrow night after the sides pulverised each other to a goalless standstill at The Den on Sunday - where Appleton bemoaned "cheap shots" taken by the opposition at his post-match press conference.

The game failed to provide an arresting spectacle for the live television audience and Appleton predicts further heavy weather against Kenny Jackett's men before his players are allowed to implement a passing style that was conspicuous by its absence two days ago.

"The first 20 minutes or so will probably be very similar," he said. "Both teams probably earning the right to play.

"Once we get that out of the way we can make sure that we compose ourselves.

"Hopefully some of the players and footballers we've got in the team can do that."

The Lions' faithful created a fearful din at the weekend as their team came closest to securing victory at the first time of asking.

Blackburn have endured half-empty stands this season as ill-feeling persists among the supporter base over a succession of on and off-field embarrassments witnessed under the Venky's regime.

But with Wembley 90 minutes away and a derby against bitter local rivals Burnley up next in the league, Appleton has called for the kind of vocal backing that could spur his players on.

"We've got to be mindful of the fact that, before I came to the football club, Millwall came here and turned us over 2-0," he said.

"So we'll give them the respect that they deserve but, ultimately, it will be about what we do on the night.

"With us being the home team the onus is on us to get at Millwall and I think the biggest thing, which I hope will be the case on the night, is that we create the atmosphere that Millwall created down at their place.

"If the fans can turn up and make it a memorable night for everyone and cheer every corner, every free-kick, every, throw-in and every tackle then I'm sure it will give the players the edge we might need."

Wigan will face the winners while Manchester City await fellow Barclays Premier League heavyweights Manchester United or Chelsea in the other semi-final, although Appleton feels the prospect of a comparatively easier route to the final is of little relevance.

"I don't think it has any bearing," he said. "If the players want to use that as a motivation, then fantastic.

"From my point of view there's enough motivation just to play at Wembley in the semi-final of an FA Cup, regardless of who it's against."

Scott Dann will lead Rovers out at Ewood for the first time since being confirmed as Danny Murphy's successor as captain.

The former England international has struggled for top form throughout his first season in the unforgiving climate of the Championship, and his manager states such failings are not uncommon.

"There's a lot of players who've played a lot of Premier League football who have found the division difficult because it just shows no respect to anyone," Appleton added.

"It's a difficult league, it's 100 miles per hour, you don't get time to play. You have to adapt to the league rather than the league adapt to you.

"It's not just Danny, there's a lot of players at our club and at other football clubs who've found it difficult."