Millwall midfielder ahead of Brighton clash: Den can 'panic' away players

RYAN Leonard believes it is up to the players to provide the spark for the fans as Millwall look to cause another FA Cup upset at The Den on Sunday against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Leonard said he noticed the atmosphere affecting Everton players in the fourth round, when Murray Wallace scored a 94th-minute winner.

The Den is sold out for the visit of Chris Hughton's Brighton, with the hosts hoping home advantage will be decisive.

"I think you could slightly see that in [Everton] players," Leonard said. "I think the main thing is that it comes from us as players to create the atmosphere for the fans to get behind us. If we don't start the game right, they are not going to be that way. So we know it comes from us first and foremost, which is the biggest thing.

"The day I signed here I remember saying to someone that playing here as an away player is horrible. Sometimes you can't actually hear yourself think or hear yourself talk to other players during the game. I think for an away player that probably puts a bit of panic into you, really. For us to try and use that and build on that, to give the fans something to shout about early on in the game, it's going to be a massive help."

Brighton striker Glenn Murray, who has played at The Den for Crystal Palace, said he would be warning his team-mates what to expect.

Leonard added: "You can do all the talking and everything you can do but until you get on the pitch and experience it, it's one of those things where you don't know until you get there.

"For us, being the home players, I think there is a lot of pressure off us this weekend. We can go into the game and probably have a bit of enjoyment and give it a right go."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly