Forde warns of Villa backlash after Bradford humiliation

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

DAVID Forde has warned his Millwall teammates of an Aston Villa backlash after their humiliating Capital One Cup semi-final defeat to Bradford in midweek.

Villa's 4-3 loss on aggregate to the League Two outfit cost them a place in the Wembley final and has left manager Paul Lambert fighting for his job.

But Forde, speaking ahead of the FA Cup fourth round tie between the two sides on Friday, says the Lions cannot afford to underestimate the Premier League strugglers.

"They're wounded at the moment and they will be looking to right the wrongs of Tuesday night," he said. "I thought Villa should have been at least a couple of goals up at half-time.

"But fair play to Bradford, they stuck at it and took their chance. Their win gives us hope that we can do the same. Over two legs you'd expect Bradford to beat Villa, but we’re under no illusions.

"They are still a Premier League side with great quality and they will be wounded. We know we are in for a tough game. We'll be the underdogs and that suits us down to the ground.

"We know Villa are struggling a bit. They are in a transitional period and so are going for younger players, but they still have plenty of quality there. That shouldn't be underestimated.

"We are a unique club and under the Friday night lights there will be some added spice. Hopefully the fans will be preying on some of the younger players that are yet to experience The Den.

"The fans will get right behind us and they are very effective when they smell a bit of weakness. If there are 15,000 fans at the Den it will feel like 30,000 – I hope it's a memorable night."

While Forde admits progress in the Championship remains Millwall's top priority this season, he is relishing the chance of causing a cup upset.

He said: "The league has always taken priority but we're all looking forward to a big game in the cup. It's a shame that the FA Cup has lost some of its charm through the years.

"We had a poor result against Burnley last Saturday. I wouldn't say it's a bonus game but it's an opportunity to put the league aside and enjoy a great cup match.

"But you see Bradford and even Swansea getting to the final of a cup and it has reignited people’s passion for it. You look at them and think: why not us?

"I was involved with the Cardiff team that reached the final of the FA Cup [vs. Portsmouth in 2008]. It can be done."

Villa have won just four games in the Premier League this season and find themselves 17th in the table, with the pressure on Lambert seemingly growing every week.

And while Forde sympathises with the former Norwich boss, he is not planning on doing the Scot any favours. He said: "As a manager, Lambert has a quality record.

"Sometimes a manager can go to a club and it fits like a glove, but other times it doesn't happen. I’m sure Lambert has got his ideas and with time he'll turn it around.

"But he's got a big job on his hands. It's a matter of him getting the players in that he wants because most of the players he has are from previous management.

"It's just a case of whether he gets the time – but there will be big pressure on him tomorrow night."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

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