Millwall boss: We've learned from Walsall stalemate

NEIL Harris expects Chesterfield boss Gary Caldwell to set his side up to frustrate Millwall in their League One clash at The Den on Tuesday night.

Chesterfield are struggling in 23rd place in the table, and lost at home to Bury on Saturday at the same time as the Lions were knocking Leicester City out of the FA Cup.

The Spireites have yet to win under Caldwell, who took over from Danny Wilson, sacked early in January, on February 17.

Caldwell started the season in charge of Wigan Athletic, whom he took to the Championship last season, but he was dismissed in October after their poor form.

Wigan were one of the best passing sides in League One under Caldwell, and though Chesterfield haven’t won in five games Harris expects them to have a similar style.

“Gary’s philosophy is to pass the ball and play between the lines, overload areas,” Harris said. “That’s slightly different to how we do things at Millwall, but that’s the beauty of football, different ways of doing things.

“Last year we adjusted a couple of times when we played against Gary’s sides. There is the option to change the shape.

“Chesterfield are dangerous even if they come into the game as an underdog in terms of league standing and form.

“That brings its own challenges.

“My group have to have refocused and recovered well from Saturday. We have to be ready to get back to league action.

“I’m really looking forward to the game, I enjoy coming up against Gary’s teams. It’ll be a challenge for my players.

“Chesterfield will look to keep the ball away from us and we’ll have to be patient and composed, and ruthless and clinical when we get the ball.”

Millwall failed to break down Walsall after their win over Watford in the fourth round of the FA Cup, but must win tonight to climb back into the top six.

“Against Walsall we were excellent for 30 minutes and should have been out of sight,” Harris said. “But we didn’t have the clinical edge.

“We ran out of steam a little bit in the second half but there are definitely lessons learned from that.

“We have to look at putting a team on the pitch that’s ready to compete and focus and then certainly have players on the bench that can make an impact.”

Jed Wallace will miss the game, but the return of Ben Thompson means Harris must decide whether to put him back into the side or retain Calum Butcher, who was superb against the Foxes before going off in the 75th minute.

Harris will be without Jake Cooper, who is serving a one-game ban for his sending-off for two bookings against Leicester at the weekend.

That could give Joe Martin the opportunity to feature for the first time since the 3-0 loss at Scunthorpe in December if Tony Craig moves to centre-back.

More likely, Harris will hand Shaun Hutchinson his first start in eight games after the centre-back recovered from a calf tear.

“Hutch was on the bench at the weekend and has had a week’s training,” Harris said. “He’s available for selection.

“Tony going to centre-half and Fergie (Shane Ferguson) or Joe in at left-back are options for us. I’ve got options to think about to fill the space left by Coops.

“Calum hadn’t played a lot of football the last three months before three games in a week. He looked like he was getting a little bit leggy. He set the tempo for us with 10 men.

“Jed has a calf strain. Jed is still missing Tuesday night and has an outside chance of making Saturday, we’ll see later in the week.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *