Boss wants Millwall fans to recreate "hostile" atmosphere

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris says this weekend’s double-header against Bradford and Burton that could define their season will be a “gruelling” test for his squad.

The Lions play Bradford on Saturday before Monday night’s fixture against Burton, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 at 7.45pm.

Millwall will be without David Forde, Jimmy Abdou and Shane Ferguson for both games, but Harris insists his players have the capacity to cope with the intense demands.

“With nine games to go every game is vital,” Harris said. “Two games in three days is gruelling, especially at this stage of the season, but we’ve got the physical and mental strength to deal with it.

“Bradford’s a long way to go but it’s a good place to play, they have a good following. The boys will be well looked after recovery-wise, we’ll be in Sunday to make sure everybody’s fit and healthy. Monday being an evening kick-off gives us that extra few hours to prepare.

“Come Monday night at seven forty-five, we’ll be ready.”

Lee Gregory and Byron Webster picked up knocks in the 1-0 win over Sheffield United last weekend, but Millwall have no new injury worries.

They’re strong boys, strong northern lads,” Harris said. “They got a couple of whacks but it was a physical game. Sheffield United changed their side from the one that won 3-0 (against Oldham) to combat us physically. That’s a massive compliment for us.

“It was a typical late-season battle between two good teams with a huge three points at stake. There were a lot of tough tackles but the referee let it flow which I was pleased with.

“The guys came through with flying colours.”

Harris is expecting another physical contest at Valley Parade before Monday night’s clash at The Den where he hopes Millwall fans recreate a similar atmosphere to the one against the Blades.

“Barring Charlton last season, which was a cracking atmosphere, it was certainly the loudest and most hostile The Den has been for the last couple of seasons,” the Lions boss said.

“I’ve spoken about wanting my players to have the opportunity to experience that and feel the pride and privilege of playing in that atmosphere representing the fans.

“They finally got to do that and you saw the reaction. It wasn’t the best performance of the season but it was certainly one of our most competitive.

“We heard the captain talking about how in the last 10 minutes it was so important that the fans supported the boys, and it’s true.

“I played so many games where it’s tight and you just need that little extra. The fans can drag you through. I was delighted with it and that’s the challenge, to help create that for the next nine fixtures.”