Klug: Very Different Time to Be in Charge
Friday, 26th Oct 2018 12:47
Caretaker-boss Bryan Klug admits his one-game stint in charge at Millwall on Saturday is very different his four-match spell at the end of last season. The Blues go to the Den sitting bottom of the table, four points from safety, whereas Town were safe with nothing left to play for during April and May.
Klug, who is in his fourth spell as caretaker either on his own or jointly, took charge after Mick McCarthy’s sudden exit four matches from the end of 2017/18 and has been handed the reins again following Paul Hurst’s departure yesterday. New permanent manager Paul Lambert is expected be confirmed boss on Saturday morning.
“It's a different situation,” Klug reflected. “Four games to go at the end of the season, a lot of goodwill. Fourteen games in and bottom of the table is a completely different situation.
"But I'm sure it's only for the one game and we'll go there and put up a big fight.”
He says it’s certainly not the moment to try anything new: “It’s not a time to experiment but we'll look at what Millwall do particularly well.
“[U23s coach] Gerard Nash has seen them four times, so he knows what their strengths are. We'll pick a team that we think can be very competitive.”
Town have three potentially winnable games over the next fortnight with the trip to Millwall followed by a home game against Preston next Saturday and then a visit to Reading the weekend after.
Klug will take charge of just Saturday’s match with new manager Lambert set to watch from the stands.
The temporary boss says its most important to get some momentum going, the Blues having won only once this season.
“We always say every game is that big, you can't say one is bigger than the other,” he reflected. “But somehow we've got to find a way of winning the game and getting on a run.
Will it be a case of back to basics and focusing on a clean sheet first and foremost? “That’s one way of doing it, all those things are very, very good aren’t they but ultimately we’ve got to get better and getting better means with the ball, without the ball doesn’t it?
“I’d take any sort of win or positive result but I think the players, I’d like to see them play.”
Klug says he will be in charge at the Den even if the new manager Lambert were to confirmed before then, although it's understood confirmation is likely to come on Saturday morning.
“As far as I know, but I'm more than happy if he wants to! As far as we know, that's what we've settled for.”
Klug says the Blues support, with more than 2,000 set to make the trip to the Den, will have a part to play.
“I’m told there is going to be a good travelling following but at the games we did at the end of last season they were fantastic,” he said.
“We have an obligation to make them feel that what they’re seeing out on the pitch is good effort and a good way of trying to play. There’s no doubt there’ll be a good atmosphere from our fans.”
It’s difficult to second guess Klug’s team but the caretaker-manager seems likely to stick with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal and may also go with the same back four as in Hurst's final game at Leeds on Tuesday.
That would see Matthew Pennington and skipper Luke Chambers at the heart of the defence with Jonas Knudsen and Jordan Spence the full-backs. One change Klug might make is to bring Janoi Donacien in for Spence.
In midfield, Cole Skuse and Trevoh Chalobah may take up the deeper roles with Andre Dozzell ahead of them. Gwion Edwards is likely to be on the right and Grant Ward on the left with Freddie Sears or Kayden Jackson the lone striker.
Millwall, who are 20th, four points ahead of the Blues having won two of their last three, have no injury problems and could name an unchanged team for the fourth successive match. However, ex-Norwich striker Steve Morison will be hoping for a recall.
Lions midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe spent a stint on loan with the Blues in the first half of the 2013/14 season when with Manchester United, making 24 starts and five sub appearances without scoring.
He joined the Lions in the summer of 2017 following his release by Fulham, Town having shown interest earlier in pre-season but without making a contract offer.
The sides are closely-matched historically, Town having won 21 games (17 in the league), Millwall 19 (18) and with 14 (14) having ended in draws.
At Portman Road in April, Town prevented Millwall from recording a club record seventh successive away Football League win as an entertaining end-to-end clash ended 2-2.
Jake Cooper gave the visitors the lead in the 27th minute, then after the break the previously goal-shy Blues turned things around in two minutes on 52 and 54 via what looked to be a Cooper own goal, although was officially credited to Martyn Waghorn.
The striker definitely grabbed Town’s second, but George Saville levelled on the hour and the Lions had a number of chances to win it late on but were thwarted by Bartosz Bialkowski.
In August last year at the Den, Spence headed an 88th minute winner as the Blues ran out 4-3 winners of a remarkable game.
The Lions went ahead through Jed Wallace in the opening minute, Garner equalised three minutes later before Martyn Waghorn put the Blues in front, Aiden O’Brien levelled for the home side, then Waghorn restored Town’s lead in first-half injury time.
Millwall made it 3-3 via sub Tom Elliott but Spence won it with his first goal for the Blues with two minutes remaining.
Saturday’s referee is Robert Jones from Merseyside, who has shown 53 yellow cards and one red in 15 games so far this season.
Jones’s last Town match was the East Anglian derby against Norwich City in September in which he booked Chambers, Jordan Graham and one Canary.
Prior to that Jones had only taken charge of three previous Town matches, the most recent the 1-0 defeat at Brentford in April when he booked Knudsen, Callum Connolly, Cameron Carter-Vickers and two Bees.
Prior to that he was the man in the middle for the 1-0 victory over Leeds in January in which he red-carded Eunan O’Kane for head-butting Knudsen in the 37th minute. He also booked Dominic Iorfa, Connolly and two Whites players.
Jones was also the man in the middle for last December’s 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough when he showed two yellow cards to home players before being replaced by fourth official Geoff Eltringham at half-time.
Squad from: Gerken, Bialkowski, Donacien, Pennington, Spence, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Dozzell, Edun, Edwards, Ward, Graham, Nolan, Sears, Jackson, Lankester.
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