Upson: Boss giving us belief in Millwall promotion challenge

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

ED Upson knows what it takes to win promotion from League One, but he accepts the pressure to do it at Millwall is much higher.

The Lions midfielder, with Byron Webster, was part of Yeovil Town’s historic campaign in 2012-13 when he scored in the play-off semi-final and played in the final as they reached the second tier for the first time.

Upson then scored Yeovil’s first ever goal in the Championship – against Millwall at The Den in August 2013.

He says expectations are higher at his current club, however, but that manager Neil Harris is giving the side the belief that promotion can be achieved this season.

“There’s a bit more pressure here than at Yeovil,” he admitted. “We weren’t expected to do a lot when we did go up whereas here maybe we are expected to be one of the favourites to go up.

“But that’s part and parcel of the game and the gaffer instils confidence in us every day in training. We’ll worry about promotion towards the end of the season when we see where we get to.

“We’re just taking every game as it comes. (Promotion) is in the back of our minds but we’re going game to game and concentrating on getting the results.

“It’s a long season and a relatively new team that’s been put together.”

Upson started his first senior competitive game in almost two months in the 1-0 win against Bury last weekend, and admitted he is not yet 100 per cent fit after his knee injury.

He explained: “There’s still a bit of pain there but it’s just about getting through it and building confidence again.

“Every game I play it’s always in the back in my mind that it still does hurt sometimes, but obviously the more games that I play and the more I train, mentally it’s about knowing that it’s alright.

“The more tackles I make the more my confidence builds.”

The 26-year-old midfielder earned Harris’ praise for his work-rate after he lasted 81 minutes last Saturday before being replaced with Ben Thompson.

Upson revealed the squad didn’t get home until the early hours of Wednesday morning last week after a long coach trip back from Fleetwood and had little time to train before their clash with the Shakers.

And he says the players have had to quickly turn their focus to Burton after a physical, intense contest against Bury.

“I think that was one of our toughest games,” Upson said. “They’re a good side and we battled well. We had to dig in at times and I thought that as a team we really stuck together and got the job done.

“A pattern to our game has arisen and we’re playing on the break a bit now. We’ve got some good strikers and some clever players.

“We were all very disappointed with Tuesday night, we needed a reaction and we definitely got it on Saturday.

“You don’t get a lot of time to work on stuff. We didn’t get back until about four in the morning, so you’ve Wednesday afternoon and Thursday to recover from the journey and the game.

“Friday we watched videos and worked on what they did and how we were going to play as well.

“Tuesday night’s another tough one. We’ve got to recover and do it quickly and get our minds on the game.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy Abdou is back in training after a serious collarbone injury but it is likely to be at least another week before he is considered for a return to the first team.

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)