Craig: Hostile Gills clash perfect preparation for Millwall

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLWALL club captain Tony Craig believes the 2-1 win over Gillingham last Sunday was the ideal preparation for the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final clash with Bradford next weekend.

The Lions had to win against the Gills to clinch fourth place in the league and home advantage in the second leg against the Bantams.

Aiden O’Brien put Millwall ahead in the 55th minute at Priestfield but John Egan looked like he had rescued a point with a 92nd-minute equaliser.

However, Lee Gregory scored the winner from the spot with almost the last kick of the contest to give Millwall what could turn out to be a crucial edge over two games against Bradford.

“It was a game that had absolutely everything,” Craig, who replaced Steve Morison in the 88th minute, said. “It was a derby in a very hostile environment and a great game to be involved in. I think it was the perfect game for us to be involved in just before the play-offs.

“They still had everything to play for and we had a league position to play for ourselves. It was about pride because they’d come to our place and won 3-0 in December. So it was a great result for us and it will stand us in good stead for the play-offs.”

Craig hasn’t started a game for Millwall’s first team since October 31, when he seriously injured his knee tackling James Hanson and spent almost six months recovering.

But he is looking forward to the clashes against Phil Parkinson’s side and expects the tie to go to the wire.

“They’ll probably sell it out and as a player you want to play in those environments,” Craig said. “You want to play in front of a full house every week and for a lot of players it brings out the best in them.

“I think they’re going to be great games to be involved in. You’ve got two very good sides, two strong, athletic teams and it’s a tie in which both teams will be fighting all the way until the end to get through to the final.”

John Kelly