Signing Wood will not paper over Millwall's defensive cracks

© Edmund Boyden

CHRIS Wood has only been a Millwall player for 24 hours and already he is being touted as the Lions’ savior – but Kenny Jackett still has bigger problems to address.

The New Zealand striker agreed terms with the Lions yesterday, joining from West Brom on an initial two-month youth loan, which can be extended.

While Wood could prove to be a great signing for Millwall, we shouldn’t forget that our current defence has been leaking goals at an alarming rate. He shouldn’t be put on a pedestal just yet – especially when we have a more worrying proposition at the back than up front.

We must not adopt a ‘score more goals than you’ policy. In recent years we have prided ourselves on and based a team around a water-tight defence and we must not stray from that mentality.

Paul Robinson, Danny Shittu, Karleigh Osborne and Shane Lowry are a formidable quartet of centre-backs at this level – albeit that Osbourne has only made three-and-a-half appearances in the Championship.

Osborne has shown genuine glimpses of quality at times – enough to prove that he can cut it at this level – however, he has also shown signs of naivety, something that is to be expected of a player who has just joined from a lower-league club.

But should the defenders be held entirely to blame? Especially when the system has been shuffled around three times already this season? We have seen 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and the wholly unsuccessful 3-5-2 that graced the KC Stadium last week.

Not only has Osborne had to deal with the rigours of second-flight football, but also had to adopt three different formations in four games – a tough ask for any player.

Jackett must solve our defensive issues first, and build from there, because signing Wood won't paper over the cracks.

When I speak of defensive issues, I am not wholly referring to the back four. Jackett likes to refer to the midfield and forwards as the ‘front six’, just as I like to refer to the midfield and defence as a ‘back eight’.

We have all seen how easy it has been for the likes of Robert Koren so far this season, prancing into a dangerous position and being gifted the chance to shoot and score when he should have been pressed and put under pressure.

After all, wasn't that the mentality we adopted to finish top of the form chart at the end of last season? Defending from the front, pressing high up the field and battling for the ball all over the park.

As yet, I have not seen that emulated at Millwall this season. But I have faith that Jackett will find a solution.

Conor Sefton

(@ConorSeftonNAD)

8 thoughts on “Signing Wood will not paper over Millwall's defensive cracks

  • September 18, 2012 at 15:11
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    Nice piece, I agree entirely. I also think we will miss Ward, Barron and especially Graig more than people expect this season. Looking forward to 3 pts tonight!

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  • September 19, 2012 at 03:40
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    good call Conor, tonight's performance more than highlights your fears about our leaky back line,
    Two examples of defenders standing back and admiring opponents play and, BOSH!!! 2-0 down
    in a match that could have gone either way!!! Dunne got skinned by noone ( mouthy little bugger) admittedly he had to tread carefully after getting booked, but surely KJ could have hooked him off??
    nice piece mate!!

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  • September 28, 2012 at 12:54
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    Sorry but Lowry and Osbourne ain't good enough and Robbo will take a bit of time to regain his true form after injury. Letting Ward go out on loan for months on end may prove to be the biggest mistake of Kennys Millwall career. New quality CB needed NOW
    COYL

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    • October 24, 2012 at 22:30
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      Well a month on and it's getting worse only good bit is Woods is trying to make it up at the other end

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  • November 12, 2012 at 18:56
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    Don't agree with your comment on how you think Shane Lowry is not good enough he is one of the most consistent performers we have in the squad and by far one of the most passionate players we have.... If we want to compete and become one of the top 30 teams in England we should invest in chris wood and also mark beavers both of whom has become outstanding players for us and would be a shame not to snap them up but if not I have the most faith in Lenny jackett

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    • December 7, 2012 at 13:31
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      Hmmmmm in hind sight I'd say you where probably wrong Connor. Definitely bad at the time but from Woods on it has been pretty good and the defence just keeps on getting better. So as a paper hanger he's done pretty well to paper over the cracks I'd say

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  • December 7, 2012 at 14:28
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    Thanks for commenting mate. I agree re. Wood however we still hadn't won in Wood's first four games because we still leaked at the back. If you look deeper into it, Id say Beevers has had more of an impact, really shoring us up at the back and the confidence flowed right from the back since his introduction into the side. Fortunately, since Wood discovered his shooting boots, he hasn't need to paper over anything thanks to Beevers but yes, Wood has been fantastic for us!

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