SHAUN Hutchinson can’t quite put his finger on why Millwall have been so much better against the bigger guns at The Den this season – but is determined to continue that trend against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The Lions have beaten pre-season title hopefuls Leeds, Norwich and Reading in south Bermondsey, but also lost to strugglers Barnsley and Burton.
Boro have spent 30 times Millwall’s outlay in the transfer market this season, and boss Garry Monk has found himself under pressure with his side falling short of expectation and sitting eighth in the Championship table.
Hutchinson could face £15million Middlesbrough record signing Britt Assombalonga and £10million Martin Braithwaite this weekend, but he is relishing the challenge.
“It’s a tough strikeforce that we’re going to be up against but I’m sure we can produce again what we have been producing against the top teams,” Hutchinson said.
“I don’t think we know what the problem is and why we’re performing better against bigger teams. It’s the million-dollar question.
“Maybe other teams drop back and play deeper and we have problems getting in behind them like we normally do.
“For some reason the top teams are struggling with the way we play and if that’s the way it’s going to be then fine. If we pick up the points then great.
“This season I think we have exceeded expectations at times with the way we’ve played.”
Hutchinson signed a new contract until 2020 earlier this month, and he is relieved to have the “security” of a longer deal.
“I was over the moon,” he said. “When I first came to the club I spoke to the gaffer and I had targets where I wanted to be, which is where we are now.
“The main target was promotion and we did that. Obviously the next target was staying up and pushing on and I think we’re doing that now. The gaffer’s targets and my targets were the same when we spoke.
“I had a two-year with an option but was coming to the end of my contract. They said they were going to activate the option but they’d also like to give me a few more years. That meant more security which is what I was after.
“It was one of those ones where the gaffer asked me and I said, ‘do you know what, I’m really happy here and am enjoying it’. I really want to be here and long may it continue.
“I’m looking forward to what the next three years will bring.”
Image: Millwall FC