SHAUN Hutchiunson said “it’s a cruel game” after seeing Tom Elliott suffer a dislocated shoulder that sidelines him ahead of the trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Elliott, 28, had helped the Lions to four wins in a row, displaying his best form since he joined the club, before falling awkwardly in the first minute of the 2-0 defeat to Blackburn last weekend.
Steve Morison or Lee Gregory could be his replacement at The Riverside Stadium.
“When you lose a player in the first three minutes it knocks you. The gaffer mentioned that he thought it was a team we could really impose ourselves on,” Hutchinson said.
“Tom has been getting better and better as the weeks have gone on so it’s a massive blow for him.
“But it’s a cruel game, when you feel like you’re getting in form something knocks you down. I’ve spoken to people who have had that injury and they’ve made me aware how unbelievably painful it is.
“We saw the pain he was in and he’s a big strong lad. Hopefully he can get on the mend quickly. I wish him a speedy recovery, it’s not nice seeing that. I’m sure he’ll work hard and get himself right.
“We all know it wasn’t a great game, we kind of expected that, it was two teams who aren’t afraid to mix it up and go in for a battle.
“It was super tight, like we thought, but we thought it was one of those games where we could nick the 1-0. Unfortunately they just got that break first and at this level that’s what’s killing us a little bit this season.”
Hutchinson is confident Millwall have the set-piece tools to hurt Boro.
“We’ve got players that can attack the ball quite well,” Hutchinson said. “We just need to be careful that we don’t overdo it because teams watch our clips and what we’re doing, and when we’re playing in games we can see that teams are making an effort to try and stop it.
“It’s credit to the gaffer and everyone that we are getting noticed as being a threat and with the way we play on the front foot and getting the ball forward it generally does go out for corners and that’s when we do excel. It’s a threat but we’d like to have a few more threats rather than just set-pieces the whole time.”
Ben Marshall should come into the Millwall squad after completing his loan move from Norwich City on Wednesday. Shaun Williams is also pushing for a first start since December.
Boro defenders Ryan Shotton and Aden Flint are back in training but still doubts for the game.
George Saville could face his former side.
His manager Tony Pulis said: "Saville has done better over the last few weeks. It takes time to settle for some. George has taken a bit of time, he is a great kid. He has integrated more with the group, he feels at home and that helps. He trains the way he plays."
Possible Millwall team:
4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; J Wallace, Leonard, Williams, Ferguson; Morison, Gregory.
Boro 8/11 Draw 11/5 Millwall 7/2
Millwall 2-2 Middlesbrough (O'Brien, 12', Gregory, 37'; Braithwaite, 87', Friend, 97’)
Image: Millwall FC