O'Brien: Other teams are worried about Millwall

AIDEN O’Brien, Steve Morison and Lee Gregory are approaching the 100-goal mark between them for Millwall since the beginning of the 2015-16 season.

O’Brien’s opener in the 2-0 win over Port Vale on Tuesday night means the trio have scored 97 goals since the start of Neil Harris’ first full season in charge.

O’Brien, 23, made his debut for Millwall in a 5-0 Carling Cup loss to Wolves in September 2011, but only became a regular in the side since Harris took over, and he has scored 25 goals, mostly off the wing, over the last two seasons.

He demonstrated his intuition again against the Valiants when though it looked like a fortuitous goal it was as a result of his reading of a move when Calum Butcher swung over a cross from the left and an attempted clearance came off Fred Onyedinma that O'Brien was in the right place to finish.

Gregory could be missing when the Lions face Premier League champions Leicester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup at The Den on Saturday, but with Onyedinma looking increasingly threatening up front and Jake Cooper's presence at attacking set-pieces, Millwall won’t be lacking in firepower.

O’Brien is only one goal off his tally for the entire of the last campaign, and with the fragile Foxes set to have to confront the atmosphere generated by a sell-out crowd, he will be confident he can add to his 12 goals so far this season.

“I’m on a similar total to last season,” O’Brien said. “On a personal note I’m into double figures from a wide area for two seasons in a row now, you can’t ask for much more. I want to kick on.

"That’s me – I’m always there lurking around the box waiting for a sniff of a chance. When it comes then 99 per cent out of 100 I’m going to put it away.

“I said a while ago I wanted 15 goals. I got 13 last season. I’ve got to keep scoring, that’s what I’m in the team for. My job is to assist, score and work hard. The manager can see that, it’s why I’m in his team most of the time.”

He will be in the team again on Saturday with Harris set to name his strongest side available as the Lions attempt to knock top-tier opposition out of the FA Cup for the third successive round.

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said yesterday he considers Millwall the favourites to go through to the quarter-finals.

If that is meant as some kind of mind game, it’s unlikely to have an effect on Harris or the Millwall squad.

“In some respects we can take a breath, because the league is the most important thing that we are doing right now,” O’Brien said. “Everyone wants to get to the Championship and win the league, that’s where our minds are at.

“It will be a full house on Saturday and a good test. They are not doing the business in the league so far and hopefully we can get the win.

“No doubt they’ll probably get out of this sticky stage.

“They could make lots of changes but they might go the other way because they haven’t won for so long and put out their best team. We can’t worry either way. We’ll prepare right and make sure we’re at it.

“We can’t dwell on who they are, what they do, how much money they are on – this, that and whatever. We’ve got to put the ball in behind them and win the second balls. Fingers crossed something drops for us like it did on Tuesday.

“We ran them over, outplayed them and deserved the three points.”

Whatever happens at a packed Den on Saturday afternoon, focus will very quickly switch to the League One game against Chesterfield on Tuesday night.

Millwall were 19 points off Scunthorpe after their 3-0 defeat to the Iron in December, the last time they lost a game.

They go into Tuesday’s fixture just nine points behind Scunthorpe, who are in second place in the table, and automatic promotion is back within their sights.

“If we keep going like this we’re going automatic,” O’Brien said.

“We’ve only conceded one goal in (eight) games, that’s unbelievable, and we’re scoring every week. We’ve got the balance right.

“If we want to contest for the title we can’t keep drawing. One point ain’t going to do much for us. We need to turn draws into wins. Other teams and managers are frightened. They are thinking ‘here come Millwall again – they did it last year and are going to again this year’.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)