Millwall boss reacts to AFC Wimbledon FA Cup draw

NEIL Harris has promised that his players will be “right at it” when they travel to Kingsmeadow to play AFC Wimbledon in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Both sides defeated Premier League opposition at the weekend, the Dons knocking out West Ham 4-2 after Millwall had secured an injury-time 3-2 win against Everton.

The sides last met in League One in January 2017, when Neal Ardley (above) was manager of Wimbledon and the match ended 2-2 at Kingsmeadow.

Wally Downes’ Wimbledon, who were in the fourth round for the first time since they reformed in 2002, are bottom of League One but produced one of the shocks of this season’s competition by dumping out the Hammers.

The Den and Kingsmeadow are just 13 miles apart.

“It’s a local derby, it’s a stadium I really love to go to play at,” Harris said.

“It’s a draw that you could look at and getting excited about because it gives you the chance to progress. Wimbledon will look at it – and they probably fancied a big game – but they got Millwall, a team they don’t quite fancy in the FA Cup because they know we’ll be right at it.

“But they’ll see it as an opportunity for them as well. When you’re only one league apart you’ve always got an opportunity.

“There’s enough excitement in it because there’s a place in the quarter-final at stake. It’s certainly a game I’m not going to be worried about my players being up for, because of the chance to go and play in the last eight.

“It’s a good one as well in the sense there’s no travelling. It’s up the road. It’s a tough tie but one you should really look forward to as a player. It’s great playing at home against Everton, great playing at home against Hull, but to do well in the cup you’ve got to go to these places and get a result.

“Wimbledon will be tough but we’ll really look forward to it when the time comes.”

Downes, who started his coaching career at Millwall, reacted to the draw on the Dons’ official website. “I was speaking to Bomber earlier in the day and we both said, ‘blimey, we don’t want each other’, but that’s the way it’s turned out.

“It’s a local derby and it should be a great day. It’s the next game in the competition for us and on the day anything can happen. Two giant-killers are playing against each other: they knocked Everton out and we knocked West Ham out.

“It’s a different dynamic for both of us in the next round. All of a sudden now, Millwall are the giants.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly