Carlos Edwards: Millwall must use energy of sold-out Den

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

CARLOS Edwards wants Millwall to be “aggressive” and “hard but fair” against Bradford on Friday night as they look to secure their place in the League One play-off final at Wembley.

The Lions are 3-1 up from the first leg of the semi-final but Bradford’s recent cup pedigree means Millwall “can’t switch off for a moment”, Edwards stressed.

The Bantams came from two goals down to win at Chelsea last season and recovered from losing the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final at home to Burton three years ago to reach the final, where they defeated Northampton.

Millwall have won five successive games and Edwards said they hadn't done anything differently in the run-up to the contest against Phil Parkinson's side.

“We approach it as we go about every single game, from the first game of the season to the last,” Edwards explained. “We go out there to win a game of football, to entertain, work hard and as the gaffer always says, put in a Millwall performance – aggressive, hard but fair, and be passionate and enjoy the game.

“We know we’re going to have the crowd behind us and we’re going there to win a game of football. As we all know it’s only half-time and football is a very funny game so we can’t afford to switch off for a moment.”

The Den is sold out for the first time this season, with over 17,000 fans expected by the 7.45pm kick-off as excitement at the prospect of a trip to Wembley builds.

And Edwards wants his team-mates to feed off the energy of the home supporters.

“You have to make use of it,” Edwards stressed. “You want that 12th man, you know the fans are going to be there to give you that extra boost. Nothing is going to change, we as players need to bring the fans onto the pitch – not literally, maybe at the end they’re all welcome!”

Edwards was recovering from injury at the start of the season when four successive defeats at The Den seemed to indicate Neil Harris’ plan for transition would be a long and difficult process.

Thirty-seven-year-old defender Edwards made his first appearance this campaign in the 1-0 win over Peterborough in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Millwall’s first home win of the season.

Millwall’s form at home at the end of the regular league season was in direct contrast to their early struggles and they go into the second leg on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run at The Den.

“We were looking at the wrong end of the gun barrel and we ended up escaping,” Edwards said. “It’s one of those situations now that you have to cherish and hope it goes to plan.”

Meanwhile, Edwards believes Bradford will arrive in south London and take the game to their opponents, but he insists Millwall will deal with their approach.

“I think they will absolutely come and try to intimidate us a bit and try to ruffle our feathers,” Edwards said. “But we’re big enough and capable enough to withstand whatever will be thrown at us.

“We have a squad capable of challenging anyone in this division and we showed that last Sunday.”

John Kelly