MILLWALL boss Neil Harris said Joe Martin understood why he had to be taken off in the first half of the 3-1 defeat to Southend last Saturday week.
Martin was on a booking at Roots Hall and had just escaped another for a late tackle on David Mooney when Harris decided it was too much of a risk to leave him on the pitch.
The left-back comes back into contention for a place in the team at Port Vale on Tuesday night. Ben Thompson's one-game ban means Calum Butcher or Jimmy Abdou could also be recalled to the side.
Harris said: “We miss Ben through suspension, but Joe comes back in. Joe’s a top pro, he knows how the game works and my dilemmas as a manager. It possibly won’t be the last time that happens to Joe in his career because he plays on the edge. A lot of our players play on the edge.
“We could think about changing shape, we’ve got various potions to do that, and Jimmy and Calum will be desperate to get the opportunity to perform.”
Harris will be eager for his side to cut out the defensive mistakes that have seen them leak six goals in the last two league games.
In the 3-2 defeat to Rochdale on Saturday, the Lions conceded by failing to stop a cross into the box, failing to defend a free-kick that landed on the six-yard line and then when Sid Nelson gave away a last-minute penalty.
And Harris warned Port Vale will pose his side a new set of challenges at Vale Park.
“They’re a good team, they pass the ball between the lines,” Harris said. “They’re an exciting team to watch so it’s a different challenge to what we’ve faced in the last couple of games.
“Them being at home and winning four games at home in the league, it’s a good one for us to go and show our character, to show our heart and desire.
“We want to get back to being organised, get back to a clean-sheet mentality and continue to be good going forward.
“I watched our game back Sunday morning and was really pleased with the first 65 minutes. I thought we dominated the game, dominated both penalty areas and chances. It’s hard to be critical to say we weren’t quite clinical enough at times when we’ve scored two goals.
“We just showed our lack of experience in certain areas for the first and second goals. The third goal was one of those moments in football that happens, the boy comes from the blindside. It was probably the least frustrating of the goals, though the timing of it didn’t help.
“That’s maybe just the way our luck defensively is going. But the first two goals were very naïve, from defenders and midfielders. So young players have to learn quickly.”
Image source: ©Charlie Compitus