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Five things we learned: Millwall 3-3 Wolves

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

#1: Fuller needs the ball to feet

With his 6ft 3in frame and powerful physique, the temptation to fire long balls into the chest of Ricardo Fuller is understandable.

And more often than not, that is what Millwall have done this season. He's big, strong and wins his fair share of headers.

Lee Gregory certainly benefited from having more scraps to feed off against Wolves.

But the three goals Fuller has scored for the Lions prove that he needs a very different kind of service to be his most effective in the box.

Against Reading, Scott Malone fed a pass into the striker's feet and he controlled expertly before curling a shot into the bottom corner.

The Jamaican was on target twice on Saturday and in both instances the ball came to him on the deck.

His first goal was rattled in after Scott McDonald's clever knock-down in the box. The second was the result of a brilliant first touch, followed by a thumping drive inside the near post.

Rather than ask Fuller to run the channels or win flick-ons, Millwall need to keep giving him the ball – and let him do the rest.

#2: Martin makes big impact on injury return

Lee Martin was only on the pitch for 35 minutes but in that time he made more tackles and put in more crosses than any other Millwall player on the day.

What that shows is what we already knew – that Martin gives the Lions a natural outlet on the wing and is fundamental to their pressing game.

His ability to win the ball back high up the field is something that Millwall have desperately lacked during his injury lay-off.

Martin's energy was a major contributing factor to the Lions' stunning comeback from 3-0 down, so ensuring that he stays fit is absolutely vital.

To be on the safe side, Holloway may again use the 27-year-old off the bench against Wigan tomorrow night because losing Martin to the treatment room would be disastrous.

Millwall shouldn't be so reliant on one player for so much of their attacking impetus, but the reality is that they are significantly worse off without Martin.

#3: Malone could be an option on the wing

While Martin finds his feet again after a month on the sidelines, Holloway should consider giving Scott Malone a starting role on the wing.

Like Martin, Malone gave the Lions much-needed running power when he came off the bench at the weekend.

His speed and direct style caused former club Wolves all sorts of problems.

With Matthew Briggs currently Holloway's preferred choice at left back, there is a strong case to be made for playing Malone further forward.

Millwall need pace on the counter attack – especially away from home at Wigan tomorrow – and Malone can carry the ball into dangerous areas.

He has the legs and the skill to do damage in the final third. In the short term at least, Malone could be the ideal stop-gap on the wing.

#4: Lions need a settled back four

Andy Wilkinson's imminent arrival from Stoke City should solve a lot of Millwall's problems.

Four different players – Alan Dunne, Jimmy Abdou, Richard Chaplow and Lee Martin – filled in at right back during the course of Saturday's draw with Wolves.

That meant there was constant reshuffling in the back four and uncertainity about who was marking who at set pieces.

With Wilkinson coming in on a 93-day loan deal, Holloway will now be able to pick players in their correct positions without having to move them around.

Wilkinson, however, won't be a like-for-like replacement for the injured Carlos Edwards.

Edwards has been a massive loss for the Lions – in the 16 games he has played for the club, Millwall have lost only three of them. But he is irrepelaceable – a one-off.

The 35-year-old is unique in that he is a winger who has been succesfully converted into a very effective defender.

Few players make that kind of transition permanently, without at some point reverting to their previous position.

But Wilkinson, who has played over 100 games in the Premier League for the Stoke, is a no-nonsense bruiser who will bring experience and leadership to the defence.

And most importantly, Millwall can now get some continuity going in the back four.

#5: Gregory's movement is Harris-esque

Lee Gregory looked the part on Saturday.

As he spoke to the written press after the game, you could tell that the striker is brimming with confidence now that he has opened his account for Millwall.

He scored his second goal for the club against Wolves with an ice-cool finish that belied his non-league pedigree, showing the composure of a Championship forward.

But what really stood out was Gregory's movement.

He was constantly on the shoulder of the last man, making runs in behind defenders and waiting to pounce on any mistakes in the back four.

The goal was made by his run. And when Shaun Williams picked him out with a clipped pass, the 26-year-old made no mistake.

It's a big compliment, but the way Gregory finds space and anticipates a pass is reminicsent of Neil Harris's predatory instincts.

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

14 thoughts on “Five things we learned: Millwall 3-3 Wolves

  • October 20, 2014 at 15:08
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    We are looking stronger!

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  • October 20, 2014 at 15:09
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    I wont judge the team till christmas

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  • October 20, 2014 at 15:27
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    5 spot on points NAD.
    Agree with all of it.

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    • October 20, 2014 at 18:13
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      @wall2wall: Agreed, all good points.
      To add to the idea of Malone on the wing - really hope this becomes a regular thing. Because I reckon if he didn't have to do so much mileage up and down the length of the pitch and just worked on his attacking play and delivery - he could be a very affective winger. He's done very well in the LWB position, (my player of the year last season) but it's a massive work load and IMO his crossing suffers from having to run the whole length of the field... I reckon he'd enjoy being in a more attacking role as well...

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      • October 20, 2014 at 19:20
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        @Luke ColdBlow10:
        My player of last season too Luke.
        Would love to see him get a run of games on the wing.
        People forget that good wingers can take people on, get into the box and pass for someone to finish. It's not all about crossing but he does as you say have to work on that part of his game.
        I think what's promising is that we are starting to have good options all over the park.
        I know that quite a few aren't fans of Holloway but I am personally enjoying what is being built by him here especially the team spirit which was there for all to see on Saturday.
        P.S I was in the CBL upper on Saturday and thought that it was the quietest atmosphere in their for ages apart obviously from the last 20 mins .Couldn't work it out. It had the atmosphere of a 10am kick off. Strange.

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        • October 21, 2014 at 00:50
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          @wall2wall: Spot on Wall, about good wingers taking people on and getting in the box - Malone has this in his locker and actually I think he leans more toward cutting into the box when he reaches the 18 yard box - and it's just as, if not more dangerous as well.
          Funny what you say about it being quiet in the CBL end - I didn't think it was too bad..
          I suppose on paper, our results haven't been too inspiring of late, so some fans might not feel like being vocal... despite the results not reflecting the performances (IMO)....
          Does depend on what block you sit in though sometimes as well. Big difference from sitting in block 10 to say block 7 or 12.... not saying that those blocks don't sing, just not as often as 10 or dockers 18-19...
          We had a bit of a blip with losing key players at the same time as playing some of the best teams in the league - but I reckon we're on the up & up again now.. Pleased with the new signing - more experience at the back is needed. Martin back in action and playing well, plus Reggie & Martinez will soon be back in the mix...

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          • October 21, 2014 at 14:27
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            @Lukecoldblow10
            I think we are in good shape too.
            We could be off on a very long unbeaten run soon. Wouldn't surprise me at all.
            I think your right about the blocks.
            I am never in the same place much as I move around between the dockers and cold blow lane but I was in block 7 on Saturday so was the only one being vocal but as you say it's generally quiter on the ends. I'll head for block 10 next time I'm up there.
            Cheers.

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  • October 20, 2014 at 15:37
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    Great the way we came back from 3 nil down and 3 really good goals from us as well, but why were we in that position to a Wolves side who to me do not look no better than the Wall, 3 bad goals were let in with everyone looking at one another and the skipper was the worse one out of them all.
    The main thing's we can take from that game is we can back from what looked like certain defeat we had two forwards scoring the goals and the both proved a handful for Wolves, the fip side was the chopping and changing of the back fourwhich I found hard to keep up with, how many right backs was it 3 or 4 and lastly David Forde well can he play that bad again this season I dont think so and I hope so as well.
    They can build on that come back tomorrow night and again Saturday when they are on the box.

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  • October 20, 2014 at 16:00
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    And with that point gained we now have, I think I'm correct in saying, the same number of points after the same amount of games as last season. So, now is the time to see how much "better" we are than last year. Winning a couple of home matches on the spin would be nice !

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  • October 20, 2014 at 16:05
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    point ( 6 ) REFEREE : where the f.u.c.k did he get 8 mins from at end of game plus 3 in first half. time to go to the f a. the bloke was a joke. booked 7 not a dodgy tackle, ok williams was a fair cop, but this bloke was inept !!!

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    • October 20, 2014 at 17:26
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      @TONY BLOCK28: My reaction to the 8mins added was the same as yours on matchday, but apparently the rule is they add on 1min for each goal scored to make up for celebrations etc - I thought they stopped the clock when a goal is scored, but apparently not....?
      Ref was a s*** though - stone wall pen not given - and how a foul wasn't given for the following tackles after the "advantage" was crazy...
      Poor throughout - Wolves got away with murder.... WE ALWAYS GET S**T REFS!!

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  • October 20, 2014 at 16:24
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    Seen worse ref than him need williams in midfiled our best player and put in upson for woolford waste of space and beavers waht must thing whats he done wrong

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  • October 20, 2014 at 16:37
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    Whilst you should never condone a red card... I'm so glad Williams went in on him at the end to stop him going one on one... Shouldn't have gone on that long and will be a miss not having him but that's passion to keep his team in the game

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  • October 21, 2014 at 07:32
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    upson for williams and malone for a very crap woolford for tonight and hopefully 2 up front as it is a big ask with just 1

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