Millwall skipper warns of Derby County threat

STEVE Morison has warned that Derby County have the tools to end Millwall’s unbeaten run in December when the sides meet at Pride Park on Saturday.

The Lions go into the game with their confidence high after wins over Sheffield United and Middlesbrough and a draw at Aston Villa this month.

They will face a Derby side, though, that has won their three games in December without conceding a goal and scoring six, and on a run of five victories in six.

Fourth-place Derby have an experienced side, with eight of their starting XI in their 2-0 win over Aston Villa last Saturday aged 30 or over. Ten of that side have Premier League experience.

“When you look at it on paper, if a team is going to stop us it’s going to be a team like that,” Morison said. “They’ve got size and aggression at the back, grit and determination in midfield with people like Tom Huddlestone and Bradley Johnson, who love that side of the game. They’ve got David Nugent up front who works his socks off, and pace either side of him in [Andreas] Weimann and [Matej] Vydra and [Johnny] Russell. It’s going to be a very tough game, they’re in really good form at the minute.

“It’s going to be a game in which physically the sides match up quite well – so it’s probably got 0-0 written all over it!”

Millwall have taken points off four of the current top six, and Morison believes the FA Cup run to the quarter-final last season was good preparation for facing some of the division’s bigger sides this campaign.

“We’re still playing the way we were before but we have to give the other teams a little bit more respect,” Morison said. “We can’t do exactly what we did in League One, we have to be a little bit more defensively minded.

“It’s like what we did in the FA Cup games last year. We gave up possession quite a lot. The possession stats last weekend were something like 35-65 and it’s all about us taking chances when they come along.”

Meanwhile, Morison was relieved to hit the 20-game mark that triggered another year in his contract that will see him stay with the Lions until at least 2019.

With no appearance clause in his current deal, the striker says it will be a “totally different conversation” next season as to whether he will be with Millwall beyond the summer of 2019 and his 36th birthday.

“It was something that was in my contract last year but it was activated a bit earlier so I didn’t have to wait to hit the games required,” Morison explained.

“This year it was just a matter of playing the games, so I’m pleased it has been sorted. It wasn’t something that I was worried about, it was in the pipeline and I was going to make it.

“It’s just about now making sure the contract is in the Championship and not in League One.

“Anyone over the magical 30-year-old mark gets a year-by-year, and it’s working out well. Next year is a totally different conversation.”

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly