No Injury Worries Ahead of Millwall Clash
Friday, 12th Sep 2014 15:19
Boss Mick McCarthy has no injury worries ahead of Saturday’s home game against his old club Millwall. Wingers Cameron Stewart and Stephen Hunt are both back from spells on the sidelines but won’t be risked against the Lions or in Tuesday’s home game against Brighton.
Stewart is yet to make his Blues debut having suffered a broken jaw towards the end of pre-season training, while Hunt picked up a calf problem and was unavailable for the entire friendly programme.
“They’re both back training,” McCarthy said. “Cameron only had two and a half games before he got injured in pre-season, maybe three games, and he’s done nothing since in terms of playing.
“Whilst he’s fit now and he’s injury free, he’s not had any minutes on the pitch, so he needs that. He’ll probably play in the U21s on Monday.
“And Hunty will be the same, he’s had even fewer minutes on the pitch. But as we saw with him last year, when he does come back and he’s fit he’d got this amazing ability to get through games.
“Probably over a long period of time he’s built that stamina and that will power to get through games.
“Both are back training, both will probably play in the U21s on Monday, which will mean they won’t be playing on Saturday or on Tuesday. But we’ve got plenty of games coming up.”
He added: “Other than that, everybody’s fine, everybody else is out training today.”
McCarthy says he’s not surprised that Millwall, who are currently fifth, have made a decent start to the season under Ian Holloway, who took over in January.
“I’m not because they’ve been doing it since March,” he continued. “They’ve only lost one game since then, they lost to Rotherham at home.
“He kept them up, they looked like they were relegation fodder. I think everybody thought they were gone, except him and his players obviously because they kept themselves up.
“And he’s just continued that, they’ve had three wins and a draw, so a great start for them and they’re a good side.”
The Town boss expects to see old boys Carlos Edwards and Lee Martin in Holloway’s XI: “I think they’ll start. I’ve watched them and Carlos was playing at right-back and Lee Martin was playing wide and drifting in.
“They actually both played very well against Blackpool. But I know they can both play, but they weren’t the future for us, we needed to do something else. But good luck to them both, except on Saturday.”
McCarthy has a few decisions to make regarding his line-up with a number of fringe players making a case for regular inclusion during the 1-1 draw at Derby a fortnight ago.
Keeper Dean Gerken seems likely continue in goal, while Christophe Berra - who has signed a new contract until 2017 - and Tommy Smith will be at the heart of the defence.
Skipper Luke Chambers looks set to keep his place at right-back, but McCarthy will have to choose between Tyrone Mings and Jonny Parr - who made his debut against the Rams - on the left.
The Blues manager also has decisions to make in midfield. Teddy Bishop, who has extended his Town terms until 2016, impressed in his full debut against Derby and may well retain the role alongside Luke Hyam, despite Cole Skuse being over the illness bug which forced him out of the side at the iPro Stadium.
McCarthy could opt to stick with the system he employed at Derby with Jay Tabb on the left and Paul Anderson on the right and a third central midfielder ahead of Bishop and Hyam.
Kevin Bru did well in that role against the Rams but seems likely to make way for recent Leicester target David McGoldrick, who is back after his dead leg. Daryl Murphy will keep his place as the main out and out striker.
Darren Ambrose, who returned to the Blues for a third spell yesterday, is likely to be amongst the subs, alongside Conor Sammon, who returns to the squad having been unavailable against his parent club Derby.
Millwall boss Holloway has added former Blackpool midfielder Angel Martinez to his squad, while ex-Blue Ed Upson is back from a hamstring problem.
Former Southend and Charlton midfielder Nicky Bailey is out with a calf injury and defender Sid Nelson is sidelined with foot problem.
Blues manager McCarthy was a Millwall player at the end of his career between 1990 and 1992, when he took over as boss. He remained manager at the Den until 1996 when he took charge of the Republic of Ireland.
McCarthy’s record as manager of the Lions reads played 203, won 74, drew 70 and lost 59. In 1993/94 they finished third in what’s now the Championship but lost out to Derby County in the play-off semi-finals.
Town U21s coach Mark Kennedy started his playing career with Millwall, making 46 starts and eight sub appearances and scoring 12 goals between 1992 and 1995.
Former Blues skipper Carlos Edwards joined the Lions in the summer after being released by Town, having spent a successful loan spell at the Den sat season.
Ed Upson, who scored the winning goal in Town’s 2005 FA Youth Cup triumph while still a schoolboy, joined the Lions from Yeovil in January. Now 24, Upson made two League Cup sub appearances for the Blues before being released in 2010 when he joined the Glovers.
Ex-Town loan striker Ricardo Fuller signed for Millwall this summer after leaving Blackpool.
Fuller, 34, scored two goals in three games while on loan with the Blues from Southampton at the end of the 2005/06 season, also picking up a red card while at Portman Road.
Then-boss Joe Royle wanted to sign him on a permanent basis but the £500,000 fee was beyond Town’s means and the Jamaican joined Stoke City.
Lee Martin joined Millwall after leaving Portman Road in the summer of 2013, while ex-Blues loan keeper Stephen Bywater also moved to the Lions during that close season after departing Sheffield Wednesday. He is currently on loan at Gillingham.
The sides are closely-matched historically, Millwall having won 19 games (18 in the league) and Town 18 (15), while 13 (13) have ended in draws.
When the teams last met at the Den in January debutant right-back Ryan Fredericks netted freak goal shortly before the break to see Millwall to a deserved 1-0 victory.
Town, who had midfielder Luke Hyam stretchered off early on, were second best for the most part and would have lost by a greater margin had former Blues winger Martin not spurned a 70th minute chance.
In August, in Town’s first home game of the 2013/14 season, the Blues beat Millwall 3-0. After a goalless first hour, Shane Lowry diverted an Aaron Cresswell ball past keeper Bywater in the 63rd minute before Smith powered home a trademark header on 70.
Mark Beevers inadvertently converted an Elliott Hewitt cross with seven minutes left on the clock, Paul Anderson subsequently being somewhat generously awarded the goal.
The club are leaving it up to each individual player whether they join in with this weekend's anti-homophobia Rainbow Laces campaign.
Stonewall, the Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) and Paddy Power have joined forces and sent rainbow laces to every player in Britain in order for them to show support for gay players and fans.
Saturday’s referee is Carl Berry from Surrey, who has shown 13 yellow cards and no red in five games so far this season. Berry will be taking charge of his first Town game.
Squad from: Gerken, Bialkowski, Chambers, Hewitt, Mings, Parr, Berra, Smith, Bishop, Skuse, Hyam, Anderson, Ambrose, Tabb, Henshall, Bru, McGoldrick, Murphy, Sammon, Bajner.
Photo: Action Images
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