MILLWALL’S trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday is not a revenge mission, Lions defender Shaun Hutchinson insists.
Millwall were in seventh place, two points off sixth, with two games left when they went to The Riverside Stadium last April (above), but Boro effectively ended their chances of reaching the play-offs with a clinical 2-0 win.
Neil Harris’ side had seen a 17-game unbeaten league run ended by Fulham in their previous fixture, and Hutchinson believes they had given all they could to haul themselves so close to the top six.
“Last year we went up there and we didn’t have much left,” Hutchinson said. “We had given so much in so many games and it felt like it was a couple of games too many for us.
“It was gutting but it was a reminder how difficult this league is. To end up there in the table was incredible.
“We’re putting the same effort in this season and we’re doing the same things, and we didn’t kick on until this time last year. We all believe in everything the gaffer is doing and I’m sure the gaffer believes in what the players are giving him. I’m pretty sure it’ll turn around."
Harris echoes his vice-captain’s view.
He said: “We don’t look back at the Boro game last year. We came up against a really strong Boro side that I thought would have got promoted in the end, but they just missed out.
“We don’t look back on those games, we look back with fond memories after how well we did.”
The fixture could see Millwall’s record signing, Ryan Leonard, come face to face with the midfielder he replaced, George Saville, who is the Lions’ record sale.
“It took Ryan a few games to get going and understand how we play,” Harris said. “What he has got is bundles of energy, he wants to press the ball and get about the pitch. The fans will love him for that and I think he’s gaining confidence with the ball as we go along. He’s got a good range of passing and I expect that to keep coming out.
“George was a top player for us, a great character and I loved working with him. I’m really pleased he’s finding his feet with Boro, though I hope he doesn’t find them this weekend. I hope he puts his boots on the wrong feet if he plays!
“It will be an intriguing battle, though George has played in various different positions for Boro already. That’s one of many contests all over the park that’s going to be quite interesting.”
Image: Millwall FC