Millwall decided not to postpone to avoid fixture pile-up

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLLWALL boss Neil Harris said the club decided against calling off the Easter weekend fixtures against Bradford City and Burton Albion to avoid fixture congestion in the last month of the season.

The Lions travel to Valley Parade on Saturday before playing Nigel Clough's table-toppers on Monday.

They will be without David Forde, Shane Ferguson and Jimmy Abdou for both games.

The Republic of Ireland's Forde and Northern Ireland's Ferguson are involved in their countries' friendly fixtures, while Abdou is part of Comoros Islands' squad for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games against Botswana this week.

Postponing the two games would have left Millwall with nine fixtures to pack into the last 37 days of the season. The fixture against Burton is live on Sky Sports, and Harris said that was also a consideration.

The Millwall manager explained: “We could have done it but it would have been a late call-off. The international call-ups came through really late this time.

“We did consider it, but you can’t call one game off and not the other, which would have meant losing the money from the TV game.

“More importantly, we would have been left playing nine fixtures in four weeks, which becomes really difficult and taxing on the group."

The call-ups will force Harris into midfield changes, with Shaun Williams, Ed Upson, Aiden O’Brien and Fred Onyedinma in contention to replace Abdou and Ferguson.

“We’ve got competition for places,” Harris said. “Yes, we’re losing a couple of players that have started the last few games but I’ve also got five or six players that are absolutely chomping at the bit to play.

“Obviously we would have made changes over the Easter period anyway, we’ve got two really tough fixtures in three days.

“Our options are cut down slightly, of course, but I’m really confident with the rest of the squad being fit.

“It’s an opportunity for other players to come in, players who have played a lot of football this season and are desperate to come in. It’s a chance for them to stake their claim towards the end of the season.”

John Kelly