MILLWALL may have only won once in the league this calendar year, but we still find ourselves six points above the drop zone.
Apart from the Watford performance, the signs are positive. The performances are improving and we seem to be scoring goals more regularly, which was an issue that the manager was keen to address.
The 2-2 draw with Brighton on Tuesday was one of the performances of the season – and one that deserved three points. And we would have got them, had it not been for a fumble from Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Forde. I’ve often argued that David Forde in one of the better 'keepers we’ve had for some time, but since his injury earlier in the season I feel he’s been playing catch-up.
He’s been costly recently. Against West Ham, Derby, Southampton, Watford, Derby and Brighton I think he has been below par. Forde spilled a simple catch in the first half of the Brighton game, and if Iñigo Calderón had capitalised, it would have gone down as another howler.
Forde deserves time to get up to speed and then hopefully he will be solid again. If not, then he should be dropped. Simple. Kenny Jackett has today come out and called for the fans to back Forde after his 88th-minute howler. And if Jackett trusts Forde, so should we. We have to move on and concentrate on Bolton and more importantly Middlesbrough and Burnley.
Besides Forde, I have an ever-growing dislike for Scott Barron – but credit where it is due; he played himself into the Championship Team of the Week for his performance against Derby, and put in a good shift down at Brighton. Nevertheless, he still goes backwards too much for me rather than getting the ball forward or into the mixer for Henderson, Keogh or Kane to attack.
The big positive to take from the Brighton match is that we played football. For the majority of the game, we kept the ball down and passed it into advanced areas and were much the better team against Gus Poyet’s newly-promoted side, who look established at this level already. One thing is for sure, if you can keep the energetic Craig Mackail-Smith quiet then you know you’ve done well.
Against Derby we played well without creating any real scoring opportunities – but we did enough not to lose, and that’s the priority. Every point is precious at this stage of the season; picking up the odd point here and there will add to our total and gradually pull us away from the drop zone. With Portsmouth’s ten-point deduction looming they themselves will be thrust into the relegation battle.
Avoiding defeat in my eyes is a must. Having said that, it’s only a matter of time before results go against us. There is always a danger that we will be right back in the thick of it if we don’t start turning these encouraging performances into three points.
The outcome of the season is in our own hands as it stands, and I for one want it to stay that way. We are in an encouraging position in relation to the other relegation candidates.
With all the bottom teams to play still, our recent performance levels must be maintained. If that happens, will go up the league and our relegation worries will soon subside.
In KJ we trust!