Craig: Millwall have similar strengths to 2010 team

TONY Craig believes the current Millwall squad is as strong as the one that won promotion to the Championship in 2010 after losing the previous year’s play-off final.

The current Lions batch could repeat what their predecessors achieved if they beat Bradford at Wembley on May 20, a year after the 3-1 defeat to Barnsley that denied them second-tier football this season.

Craig said that disappointment was forgotten about as soon as the current campaign began last August, just as Kenny Jackett and his players parked their 2009 heartache.

Neil Harris, who played in 2009 alongside Craig, and in 2010 with Craig, Jimmy Abdou and Steve Morison, has another chance to lead the club to promotion as a manager, after last Sunday’s brilliant 3-2 win at Scunthorpe sealed an aggregate 3-2 semi-final victory.

Seven days earlier they had needed Shaun Hutchinson’s 85th-minute goal to win 4-3 at Bristol Rovers and sneak into the last play-off spot.

Craig believes the experience of 2010 and 2016 will help them as they prepare to face Bradford, whom they’ve had two 1-1 draws against this season.

“The year before [2009] was completely left behind, we moved on from it,” Craig said. “When the new season starts it’s gone, we did the same this time.

“It’s very similar to now, we have the same kind of characters, and the same kind of strength of character in the squad.

“The young players will have benefitted from the experience of last year. For them, playing the final at Wembley is going to be just another game.

“It’s a big achievement for us. We never seem to start seasons well, we never do things simply. Bristol was a dream, like a play-off itself, a cup tie, and to get in at the last minute was brilliant.

“We’ve had some real highs this season, the FA cup run was fantastic. So it hasn’t been a bad season, but we know we have a job to do now.

“Bradford are very good from front to back, we’ve already had two tough battles against them this season, there’s not much between the sides.

“It’s whoever handles the occasion better.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly