David Cameron Walker

Archive for the ‘Millwall’ Category

There’s life after Hendo

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Darius Henderson has been a big player for Millwall over the last 18 months; however, I feel there is life after the forward dubbed ‘The Hulk.’

Since joining the club at the start of the 2011/12 season Henderson has played his part in keeping the Lions in the Championship and helping us compete in the race for a play-off spot.

Last season the former Sheffield United frontman was Millwall’s top scorer with 15 goals in 31 league appearances for Millwall, six of those goals being in hat-trick performances away to Leicester City and Barnsley respectively. Of the 15 goals Henderson scored, only five goals were either the opening or winning goal. Take the two hat-ticks away and its 11 goals and three being the opening or winning goals.

I am in no way knocking his contribution during his tenure at the club, when he was fit and playing, he was almost unplayable. Leicester and Burnley found that out.

The issue I had with Henderson was his injury record, something that was flagged up from the start when he joined the club back in 2011. When he wasn’t injured and he was playing, invariably he would play well and give is all – a real Millwall-type player.

His goal per game ratio is impressive too, considering the number of games played. 26 goals in 56 games in all competitions tells its own story, working out at under a goal every three games. In the 74 league games Millwall have played since Darius Henderson arrived at the club, he has scored 22 goals in the 51 he has played and still missed 23 games, that’s half a season!

As mentioned previously, only five of Henderson’s goals last season were either opening or winning goals, this season that statistic stands are five. So overall, even though Henderson has scored 22 goals, only ten have been ones that are influential in a game. Now I know all goals are, the point is he has scored the majority of his goals when the team are winning or are comfortable.

We will miss Henderson’s physicality up front and his unequivocal knack of winning headers and flicking the ball on, along with holding up play for others to join in. That is something that needs to be addressed going forward when a replacement is found. Henderson can and will be replaced.

When fit and available, he is a top player to have at your club. He will be a loss to Millwall, but he is not the be all and end all of our goal scoring or our season by any means.

Millwall still have a great chance of reaching the play-offs with the position the team are in and the tradition of the club to finish a season strongly and, if I may, going back to the important goals relativity – Andy Keogh has scored more important goals than Henderson.

We have a player in Keogh who on his day is Premier League player, he oozes class and his touch and technique are something that might be taken for granted from our fans. He scored seven in 20 games last season after his January move from Wolverhampton Wanderers and this term has netted six times in 22 games this term, including the audacious chipped penalty at the Reebok Stadium against Bolton Wanderers on January 12th.

Of the ten goals Andy Keogh got last season, seven were either the opening or winning goal and four goals that have proved vital this season. That’s 11 of Keogh’s 16 league goals which have been influential.  Keogh is still a player that can win games, with or without Henderson.

We ultimately stayed in the Championship last season without Darius Henderson. Keogh scored the goals to keep us up in the final seven games – along with Harry Kane, the player that replaced the injured Henderson. In the grand scheme of things, Millwall are stronger with Andy Keogh, but we would be weaker without Henderson.

It will be a loss but something we will get over. We got over Steve Morison and Neil Harris going, we will get over Chris Wood and Henderson leaving. We did it last season in a vital stage of the season when Hendo was injured; we can do it again, as long as the right replacement is bought in. That player must complement our main forward option in Keogh.

The season is still alive and kicking and the timing isn’t the best, I hope I’m proved right and Millwall replace Henderson to be striker heavy rather than striker light for the remainder of the season and finish strongly as I believe we can.

Best of luck to Henderson at Forest, if they wrap him in cotton wool, they have a player who on his day is unplayable. Let’s hope that day isn’t Saturday 27th April 2013.

Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger

Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18

In Kenny we trust, still.

Monday, March 5th, 2012

This season has been pretty disappointing after last year’s heroics of a ninth place finish after our promotion from League One in 2010.

The manager, Kenny Jackett, has said this season is a transition – changing our style of play to be more ‘modern’ as the boss puts it.

However, languishing in the bottom half of the table and in the midst of a tight relegation battle is what it has been like for much of the season. A lack of creativity in the final third and an air of anxiety in or play has cost us this season, along with the lack of defensive stability that was there the previous season.

Rarely this campaign have we been outclassed, I can count on four occasions where we have been humbled. All teams have games that they aren’t at the races, but the little things have cost us this season. Losing by the odd goal and not killing teams off has been issue.

That has been prevalent this season; however, throughout the campaign small bumps occur that we can’t seem to get over.

Home form has been an issue. In recent years The Den has been a fortress, hard to beat and teams hated to travel to SE16. This season, teams can’t wait. Our away form recently is better, the old cliché that there is less pressure on a team playing away from their own turf. If you don’t win your home games you struggle, that’s fact.

Team selection and tactics have been an issue too. Playing 4-5-1 (4-3-3) at home for me, is absurd. Play 4-4-2, get at teams, attack them at home, this is a must. Jack Smith who by trade is a defender, has been playing the holding role in place of Jimmy Abdou and the injured Tam Mkandawire this season, and having on loan Spurs forward Harry Kane in centre midfield. It has had the fans questioning if Kenny Jackett is losing the plot?

The short answer to that, no. KJ has said this season is a transition and with experimenting to play football the modern way and becoming a solid Championship side, you need to experiment. In hindsight, I can see why he has tried different teams/selections. The layman way of describing it, is that he doesn’t know his best eleven. That may be true, but if there is a tactical or positional issue arising, try and solve it in-house rather than spending unnecessary money on outsourcing the answer.

In the frustration, in the moment after loses and bad performances, fans would feel like it’s time for Jackett to go. I’ve felt that a few times this season. When cooler heads prevailed, I’ve realised sacking Jackett would be suicide. Owners and fans want results, and if they are not coming, the want changed. In the four years Jackett has improved the team’s fortunes. From League One relegation fodder to visiting Wembley in consecutive years, getting to and winning a play-off final; something the club had never previously done.

Another frustration is the defensive side to Millwall this season. Either excellent or shaky, no middle ground to describe the defensive plight. The once impenetrable back-line has been breached far too often this season. Last campaign Millwall had the third best defence in the league, behind promoted QPR and Swansea. The problem in the back four’s inability is hard to fathom, but this needs to be sorted once again if we are to avoid the drop back into the abyss that is League One.

One thing that is becoming clearer to me, that hasn’t been that much of an issue before, is the performances of David Forde. Others have been slating him for a while but I’ve thought it may have been down to a bad day at the office.

However seeing the team struggle, for the first time with Forde in goal, it’s becoming more obvious.

While in previous years we have had solid seasons defensively and Forde hasn’t been tested anywhere near as much as this season, he has dealt with things well when called into question.

This season, I’ve seen him make more mistakes and more frequently. Brighton away; 2-1 up last minute, Kezenga Lua Lua takes a free-kick and Forde spills it to drop two valuable points. Reading at home; 1-0 up a poor punch into the path of Hal Robson-Kanu, and indecisiveness in coming to the ball cost us a second goal. Losing to Reading 2-1 after going a goal up at home is disappointing.

When Millwall are doing well Forde’s cracks are masked, when we aren’t doing so well, I’m afraid, his errors are highlighted more and are becoming more costly as the season goes on. He can’t become a bad goalkeeper overnight; he is a Republic of Ireland international – this could just be an off season. However it’s costing us more and more. With less than 15 games left, that too needs to be resolved.

The table doesn’t lie, but we have played well and competed valiantly in many games this season, the luck seems to be against us.

As it stands we are six points above the drop zone. The next six fixtures are season defining.

I still remain optimistic that we will survive, just. If survival is achieved then the summer will see a change in many personnel to make sure this doesn’t happen next season. Yet remain fully behind the manager to steer us away from the drop zone.

Millwall have five of the bottom seven to play, and I feel this is to the advantage of the Lions. Away form is picking up and helping us more than current home form, so with five away games to the bottom sides I can see performances and points being of a standard to pull us over the line.

It’s going to be a scrap to the very end of the season with teams like Peterborough and Watford not out of the woods yet, and the introduction of Portsmouth to the relegation dogfight.

If we can perform during the rest of the season the same way we played against Brighton, Barnsley and Burnley – all of which were games away from The Den, we will be fine. If the home form version of Millwall turns up too often like in games against Birmingham, Watford and the first half against Middlesbrough, there will be trouble ahead.

Kenny will save us; the majority of fans have backed him and never turned against him when we were a fixture of the bottom three.

You could call it a rally cry, but it’s anything but. Millwall supporters will back their club, when times get hard, and we are the underdog, the Lions roar. Keep the faith, show support and the team will respond. This is a time for, as Michael Calvin would put it; “Real ‘wall”.

We can stay up, I think we will. But the players need support on the pitch. The fans haven’t turned so far, and the longer it stays that way the better chance we have of staying up.

In Kenny we trust.

Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger

Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18

 

Millwall Win!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Yes, you read that right – Millwall have indeed won a game! It wasn’t your quintessential scruffy 1-0 smash and grab either, far from it. The result was well and truly deserved, and the performance was sublime – Millwall hadn’t won away all season, and hadn’t tasted victory since beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the Den on August 13th.

It is The Lions’ second win of the season, coincidently they have both come against former two England managers!

A hard fought point away to Middlesbrough and a point at home to Brighton were decent results against high flying opposition after the international break. A corner had seemingly been turned. If only slightly.After these matches it was a trip to big spending Leicester City on Saturday with even the most optimistic Lions fan struggling to see points to be gained, the eventual outcome was even harder to fathom. Prior to kick-off hearing the announcer name the Leicester starting eleven, most Lions fans questioned if their side would even get a point, but money cannot buy you everything!

A Darius Henderson hat-trick (I’m not making this up) was the icing on the cake in what was a perfect performance, the big target man got his first from the spot, and his second came just before halftime.

The second was crucial, going in at the break only one goal up would have been great, doubling the lead was deserved and needed. Leicester would have come out stronger in the second period had they been trailing by the one goal, and maybe pegged Millwall back. The second was an insurance.

A 2-0 lead isn’t a safe scoreline by any means, so when Liam Feeney’s 68th minute corner was headed in by Henderson to make it three and complete his treble, the game was safe.

To a man, Millwall performed like their nickname. Solid in defence, creative in midfield and clinical up front.

Compare that to the lacklustre performance from Sven’s men, and you would have thought the two teams were in the opposite situation.Leicester did assert pressure and press at 2-0 down, but the Millwall defence was impenetrable. £35,000-a-week man, Jermaine Beckford was subbed off at half time after, like he was for Leeds, non-existent against Millwall. Lloyd Dyer came on in his place and made more of an impact, but it wasn’ the Foxes’ day.

If Kenny Jackett is reading this (big fan! Keep it up!) signing Brian Howard on a permanent basis is key. He has calmness in abundance and is very creative on the ball, his experience is something the midfield have lacked this season. Against Leicester he won the penalty and dictated the direction of Millwall’s attack, he would certainly be a great addition to the squad.

Performance aside, the surprise of the day was the forgotten man, Jack Smith. All Millwall fans know how good the defender is, and barring the injuries he has had, should be a first team regular. After today’s performance, I think that will be the case. A right-back by trade and even an auxiliary centre-back, Smith found himself at left-back but played admirably. This has been somewhat of a problem position for Kenny Jackett this season, playing Tony Craig, Jordan Stewart and most recently Scott Barron in the position. In all honesty none have impressed, until today.

Smith was coolness personified on the ball all afternoon, bringing it out from the back with composure. Solid in defence and showed purpose to get forward, he was arguably Millwall’s best full back who did his chances the world of good in what was a vintage performance. He plays so nonchalantly and I feel he is underrated.

Nothing was going to get past Millwall at the King Power stadium, it was the day of the underdog.

The win was long overdue and it was a performance to be proud of.

Leicester have the money, but that can’t buy team spirit and togetherness. A side of individuals or a crafted team? I know which I’d prefer!

In KJ we trust!

Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger

Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18

Second bottom and still searching….

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

The international break comes at the perfect time for a struggling Millwall side. Without a win in eight games and only one solitary goal in that run, Kenny Jackett’s men are sitting second bottom of the Championship. Poor refereeing decisions, bad luck and injuries have all played their part but the performances have been lacking.

A lack of goals has been the main problem in tandem with not being able to keep them out. Last season Millwall had the third best defensive record in the whole league, behind champions QPR and play-off winners Swansea City. However so far this season the Lions have shipped goals for fun. In their last six games they have conceded nine goals and scored only one; something that must be put right and fast.

A handful of striker combinations have been tried to get the much-needed goals but as of yet, none have worked. Bringing back former loanee Jay Simpson from Hull was a move that excited Lions fans. Despite this we are still to see the Jay Simpson that won Player of the Year in League One during the 2007/08 campaign. His performances have epitomised how the team has been as of late.

In my eyes there seems to be a lack of fight and ‘Millwall spirit’ amongst the players, as if the changing room isn’t at ease like last season. This could be having an effect on the team, as with each defeat and flat performance confidence and morale get shattered.

Inevitably this season was going to be compared to the previous campaign, the benchmark was set and fully expected to be equalled or bettered this time around. Sadly so far it has been more of a stagnant and slow start with just one win against fellow early season strugglers Nottingham Forest. Since then it has been three draws and five defeats for Jackett’s side, including three losses on the bounce, the latest a 1-0 home defeat to Eddie Howe’s Burnley side.

In the first half Millwall were playing with a high tempo for the opening 20 minutes, then the pace dropped, and so did the performance. A lull in the Lions’ concentration was pounced upon at a Burnley corner. The ball played in to Jay Rodriguez whose effort on target was, to be fair, a pea roller but it beat everyone in the box and even David Forde who only got a hand to what would be the only goal of the game.

Millwall’s second half performance was a lot more positive, putting much more pressure on the visitors. However a contentious offside decision  ruled out a goal and a penalty appeal was turned down to sum up Millwall’s afternoon. Simply put, they lack goals and the defence is vunerable.

The second half against Burnley was one of the better performances seen recently, besides the goal the visitors did not cause Millwall many problems and the pressure the home side built up during the second 45 should have culminated in a goal but untimely, it didn’t.

Darius Henderson, the experienced front man was out again and he was sorely missed. A player that can stick up top and stay there, which will bring others into play will be a great addition to the team after the international break, which resumes away to Middlesbrough.

In light of recent form, the gloom and doom merchants have risen up and are making their voices heard. Some are blaming the board for not investing enough, others the players’ attitude and even for Kenny Jackett to be sacked – which in my eyes would be ludicrous and potentially suicidal.

Removing the Championship’s longest serving manager is a non-starter. There are not many managers Millwall could get to replace him, in terms of the success he has had, or even on the club’s financial budgets. Mr Jackett is undoubtedly the best man and only man for the Millwall hot seat.

I feel is a complete lack of confidence running throughout the side and they are not doing things instinctively. Collectively they are thinking about things too much and not wanting to over commit. These are simple things that with confidence will become easier to pull off and lead to more free-flowing football rather than rigid, protective play and hopefully results too.

The acquisition of Brian Howard on loan from Reading is a good move. Coolness personified when on the ball, his experience will be vital when things get rowdy in the middle of the park. Looking to the possible grim future, his experience will be needed should Millwall face a relegation battle. Howard’s no-frills approach, coupled with incisive runs off the ball give the team more control in midfield. He will hopefully turn out to be an integral part of the squad beyond his initial three-month loan.

The international break provides a good opportunity for Millwall to go back to the drawing board and spend time on the training ground to sort out the faults and bring back winning form which is desperately needed.

Sooner or later, they have to break their duck and pick up three vital points.

All good things come to those who wait. Millwall, we are all waiting.

In KJ we trust!

Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger

Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18

Lions Bolster Attacking Options

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

In previous weeks, Millwall boss Kenny Jackett has highlighted his forward line as an area of weakness.

The departure of Steve Morison didn’t seem to have affected the club in pre season, but five games into the new campaign (and after a 0-0 draw at home to widely tipped strugglers Barnsley) it was clear something had to be done. There’s commitment and heart in abundance, but in the final third that cutting edge has been lacking, the final ball not quite there. The squad is also weaker than last season. Case in point: 17-year-old forward Aiden O’Brien making the bench for the first time at the weekend.

With the fans calling for signings, Jackett could see too that reinforcements were needed to give Millwall some firepower up front. The first signing on deadline day was Dany N’Guessan, signing on a permanent three year deal from Leicester after impressing during the early stages of his loan spell at The Den. In hitting the winner in the Carling Cup first round and setting up a vital second goal in the league against Forest, he has shown promise of fulfilling his potential and being the quick, powerful front man that the Lions have lacked in recent times.

24-year old Liam Feeney also penned a three year deal after making the switch from south-coast side Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee, reported to be roughly £200,000. From what I can remember, Feeney was impressive in the League One play-off semi final last season, despite eventually missing a penalty in the shoot-out defeat against Huddersfield.

Both deadline day signings are a welcome addition to Millwall’s struggling forward line; Feeney has good technical ability and N’Guessan the power. Two deadline day deals completed, only the one to go – however the return to The Den of former Millwall loanee Jay Simpson was dependant on other deals going through.

First off, Leicester had to sign a striker to replace the outgoing Martyn Waghorn (who left for Hull), before Nigel Pearson could release Simpson to go back on loan to the Lions. Despite Sven signing Jermaine Beckford from Everton, the 11pm deadline passed without any confirmation of the deal, leaving many fans worried that the move wouldn’t go ahead. Shortly after 11pm a deal was confirmed to bring Simpson back to South London.

Speaking to the official site (www.millwallfc.co.uk) Simpson said:  “It’s like coming home. I am delighted to be back at Millwall because I had a great time here on loan earlier in my career.  It has been a long week but I’m just glad the deal has gone through in time. I think it went through at 10.58 last night!”.

Before August 31st, the Lions’ attacking options were threadbare, now they have added strength in depth and increased competition for places. Jackett is blessed with options he hasn’t had this season. Selection headaches in Kenny’s forward line are a wonderful thing, and hopefully will make Millwall a more potent force in the final third for the foreseeable future.

N’Guessan should be fit for the visit for Birmingham on September 11th, with Feeney also set to make his debut and Simpson taking his second Lions bow. All three will improve the squad and add raw pace and goals to the team. Oh, and as a baptism of fire for Feeney and Simpson, their first home game as Millwall players will be against the club’s dearly loved London rivals West Ham.

I am more optimistic about the season ahead now, and hopefully the three additions will pay dividends. Jackett was backed fully by the board so it all looks rosy again down SE16; he just needs the results now.

In KJ we trust!

Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger

Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18

Who Needs Steve Morison?

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

After being sold to Norwich earlier in the transfer window, Lions fans could have been forgiven for thinking we wouldn’t score any goals. But in all honesty Steve Morison, so far, hasn’t been at all missed!

Instead, Lion’s fans are seeing the dawn of a new hero in SE16. Step up, Darius Henderson. The former Watford and Sheffield United target man has had a bright start in a Millwall shirt. Two goals in his first two games have helped Millwall up to fourth in the Championship; early days of course but an unbeaten start with plenty of positives.

Following a 2-2 draw on the opening day to play-off finalists Reading, manager Kenny Jackett bemoaned the lack of options on his bench. With Josh McQuoid injured and Shaun Batt still recovering from injury, attacking options were limited. 48 hours later and The Den boss brought in Leicester City forward Dany N’Guessan and he made an instant impact with the winner away to Plymouth in the Carling Cup.

Fast forward to Saturday and the failed England manager Steve McClaren arrived at the den with his Forest side that narrowly beat rivals Notts County on penalties in the League Cup during the week – prior to kick off, Millwall mascot Zampa the Lion paraded on the pitch with an umbrella to the amusement of many of the supporters in the ground.

In a game that the home side dominated, the win was just rewards for a determined performance against the not so Tricky Trees. For small spells in either half Forest kept the ball well, but in the final third there was no end product. The closest the visitor’s came was when USA international Robbie Findley hit the base of the post.

Seven minutes in and after heavy pressure from the off, the Lions broke the deadlock. James Henry whipped in a corner that was remarkably back heeled in from Henderson to the amazement of the Forest defence, and the goal scorer himself!

The second half, new signing N’Guessan came off the bench to pick up the ball in his own half and show great pace down the right wing to deliver a ball which fell into the path of Liam Trotter to stroke home from six yards to secure all three points.

Since joining Millwall, both N’Guessan and Henderson have shown signs of doing well at the club – both appear shrewd transfers, out of left-field from Kenny Jackett. If both can sustain fitness and form then both will prove to be very astute singings come later in the season.

Steve McClaren sarcastically thanked Millwall fans for the “fantastic welcome” he received on Saturday. McClaren, as well as every other manager, should know they will never get off lightly when they enter the Lion’s den. If come out the other side with a result, you know full well you have earned it.

Next up is newly promoted Peterborough, a team I know a little about. Being at university up there, I’ve had the opportunity to see a few of their Tuesday night fixtures. A win at home to Crystal Palace and then Stevenage in the Carling Cup gave the Posh the perfect start to the season. Darren Ferguson’s men fought bravely in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Blackpool last weekend for their first defeat of the season.

They are an organised team that score goals and create bundles of chances. With their gung-ho mentaility and strong centre back pairing of Gabby Zakuani and youngster Ryan Bennett, it will be a diffucult test for Kenny Jackett’s side.

The Posh are in a similar situation to us though, losing their top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith. An excellent player and a big loss. Having said that they don’t look like they have missed him so far, much like us with the sale of Morison.

Buoyed by promotion they will be looking to upset the Lions on their own patch. A few people I know, one in particular (you know who you are!) really want to beat us. I don’t fancy the stick I’ll get at uni if we lose, so it’s a must win for the Lions on Wednesday night! I predict a close game, but Millwall’s experience to shine through. A 2-1 win and another three precious points.

Every game in this division is difficult and we will have to be on our game again if we want to get more important early points on the board.

In KJ we trust!

Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger

Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18

Ready and Roaring

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Five pre-season games, five wins. That’s the impressive record the Lions boast in preparation for the new season. Wins over Shelbourne (3-0) and Longford Town (1-0) in Millwall’s pre-season tour of the Republic of Ireland kicked things off in style with Kenny’s men showing their class against two team’s mid-way through their seasons. Other results included a 5-0 rout against Conference South side Dartford and victory over south London rivals Charlton Athletic.

Having made the trip to watch this game, it’s fair to say it was explosive right from the off with Charlton opening the scoring within five minutes before a 30 yard free-kick by James Henry was rifled into the top corner of the goal. This set the tone for the afternoon. Right from the equaliser Bradley Wright-Phillips added Charlton’s second; wrong footing defender Darren Purse and slotting home before a John Marquis double for the Lions made it 3-2 by half time – a full-time score of 4-3 resulted in true value for money and great insight into some of our new players. Recent signing Therry Racon played a full game and impressed throughout, showing some accomplished touches in the middle of the park as well as getting stuck in defensively. Clearly he was one of the stand-out players; carry on playing like he did that day and he will endear himself to the Millwall faithful very quickly!

Likewise, new target man Darius Henderson put in a shift upfront doing what he does best; holding up the ball and spreading the play very well, which culminated in setting up John Marquis’ first goal of the afternoon. Third summer signing of the season Jordan Stewart was an unused substitute but from the Dartford and Gillingham games he looks like another typically shrewd signing from Kenny Jackett, showing good pace to get forward and a willingness to get involved from left-back. All rhree men can, and hopefully will, all add something to the team throughout the season – having said that, with Steve Morison moving to Premier League new-boys Norwich City and true legend Neil Harris now at Southend, many fans, including me, feel we are still a striker light.

With that in mind, we’ve been linked with Rob Hulse, Nile Ranger, Craig Mackail-Smith and even Neil Mellor during the close-season. With a month still left in the transfer window, anything can naturally happen so there’s no need to start panicking about a possible relegation battle just yet; Kenny knows what he is doing and I for one am sure he will bring in a suitable player that will help the team going forward.

The general consensus around The Den, as it was last season, is to consolidate our status in the Championship again. With teams coming down like Birmingham City, Blackpool and West Ham United, along with big spending Leicester City and the obligatory promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest  seemingly stronger, this season will be more difficult than the last. Finishing 9th last term was an achievement in itself, so anything other than relegation and we can build on what we have and possibly try and challenge for promotion in two years time. Fans should be realistic in what we can achieve due to the size of the club and budget we have (compared to the rest of the league). Punching above our weight last season will be in order again this year; I predict us to finish between 10th and 15th – obviously not as good as last year but it’s about establishing ourselves more and more into this league and then eventually pushing on.

So, having said all that its Play-off Final losers Reading first up at the Madejski Stadium; a tough test for the lads but a challenge I fully expect the boys to be able to cope with, even with the likes of Shane Long and Jimmy Kébé in the Royals team.

Finally some good news on the injury of Shaun Batt; after a week at of rehabilitation at Lilleshall, he has been given the all clear from his muscle surgeon to start being introduced into training this week, which is fantastic news after over a year out with a cruciate knee ligament injury and should be fit by September.

With just a few days left, I can’t wait! Roll on the highs and lows that will be experienced and emotions only the beautiful game can evoke – In KJ we trust!

Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall Blogger

Jay tweets @jay_taylor18