Millwall defender backs Billy Mitchell to take chance in place of Ireland international

JAKE Cooper is backing Billy Mitchell to plug the gap in midfield if Shaun Williams is absent for three games following his red card at Stoke on Saturday.

Millwall could appeal the dismissal but if they don’t or they do and it fails then Ireland international Williams will be banned for three games.

The Lions want to sign a midfielder in January but if they can’t secure an addition this week then Mitchell, 18, will almost certainly start against Reading next Saturday.

Williams, 33, received his marching orders for a late challenge on Liam Lindsay.

“I was behind their player so couldn’t get a good view,” Cooper admitted. “I thought if he’s put his arm up he’s in trouble, if he hadn’t then he’d be alright. From what I saw it looked okay but maybe a bit late with the timing. I thought it would be a yellow card but the ref’s made the decision it’s red. We have to move on and see what comes with it.

“We’ll prepare for next Saturday whether he’s available or not. It’s down to the management now to see what they want to do, I don’t know if they’ve got aims to bring someone in.

“If not, Billy is training really well and played very well in the cup the other day. He’s got to take his chance if he gets it. Hopefully it will work out for him.”

Millwall secured a draw at Stoke with a resilient second-half defensive performance. Former Lions striker Lee Gregory came on with just two minutes left.

Cooper added: “We knew what to expect with their shape and formation. We expected them to play [Sam] Vokes and knew Gregs would come on at some stage. They brought him on late and fortunately he didn’t get much chance to cause us any trouble.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly