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Evans Expects to Be Fit For Millwall
Friday, 30th Jul 2021 15:26

Midfielder Lee Evans says he expects to be involved in tomorrow’s final pre-season friendly against Millwall at Portman Road (KO 3pm).

Evans missed the games against Crystal Palace and Colchester due to a groin strain but says he should be fine for the Lions’ visit.

“We had a really good session earlier today and, after picking up a slight niggle, I should be involved tomorrow which is great," he told the club site.

“In the pre-season games we have shown glimpses of what we want to do and I am sure we'll get better and better as the campaign goes on.

“We had a taste of playing in front of fans against Palace, and the game against Dartford as well. The difference when we have them in is huge and I can't wait to experience it at Portman Road.”

Boss Paul Cook looks set to field a side which is very close to the XI which will line-up against Morecambe on the opening day of the League One season in a week’s time.

Speaking after last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Palace, coach Ian Craney outlined how the Lions’ visit was being viewed: “Next weekend you’ve got to treat it as if it’s the first game, leading into the first game against Morecambe.”

Summer signing Vaclav Hladky will be in goal with Kane Vincent-Young and Matt Penney set to be the full-backs.

At the centre of the defence, new signing George Edmundson seems certain to make his first appearance in a Town shirt probably alongside Luke Woolfenden.

Assuming he’s fit, Evans is likely to partner Rekeem Harper in central midfield with Wes Burns wide on the right.

Scott Fraser has played on the left in the friendlies up to now and could continue in that role, while this week’s second signing Conor Chaplin is another alternative.

Chaplin and Fraser are both options to play in the role behind the main striker with manager Cook reiterating at Thursday’s Fans’ Forum that 4-2-3-1 is his preferred system, although admitting that he may have to play two strikers on occasion.

First-team coach Franny Jeffers said on Tuesday that Joe Pigott can also play in the role behind the main striker.

The summer signing from AFC Wimbledon is also an option to start as the number nine along with Macauley Bonne and James Norwood. It’s likely that a number of the starting XI will get a full 90 minutes under their belt.

Millwall’s pre-season has been impacted by Covid protocols but Jed Wallace, Shaun Hutchinson and Maikel Kieftenbeld are all back in training and likely to face the Blues as they look to get minutes under their belts.

Former Blues keeper Bartosz Bialkowski has also missed some games during pre-season but is expected to face Town for the first time since his July 2019 move to the Lions.

“Ideally you want all of your players back for the whole of pre-season but as we know, at the moment, it’s not quite as easy as that,” Lions manager Gary Rowett told LondonNewsOnline.

“I don’t expect it to be perfect [at Ipswich] because some of those players will almost be playing their first minutes for a while.

“It might be after two days’ training we decide it is not the right thing to do to risk those players in that game. I’ll know that Friday afternoon.

“The plan at the moment is hopefully they will all play some part, however small that is.
“We’ve had a few [covid cases] two or three weeks into pre-season. We had looked really good, felt really good and then you lose them for 10 days.

“Some of them can maintain that fitness but lose the edge that team training gives you. But a couple of the lads who have had it, it’s been 10 days where they can’t hardly do anything.”

Regarding the Covid situation, he added: “We’ve had players who have come back and felt fine and we’ve had players come back who have felt absolutely dreadful.

“You’ve gone from three weeks of gaining a massive advantage physically [in pre-season] to almost back to less than square one.

“It’s impossible to plan for. We’ve had it for 18 months now, so it’s not something new. We got to this pre-season and people hoped the worst was gone, it’s a timely reminder that it’s still there and we’ve got to be mindful of it.

“A lot of teams are going through it. If it was just us and we were hit badly you’d feel a little hard done by.

“We played Coventry last season and about seven or eight of our players had had it. They came back and trained for three or four days, you thought they were alright but then you watched the game back [a 6-1 loss] and realised we were absolutely miles away.

“There will certainly be no excuses. But I think there will be a lot of teams who take a little bit of time to get going at the start of the season.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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bluesteal74 added 15:50 - Jul 30
Looking forward to the Millwall game tomorrow to see where we are at, we need to start to Gel as soon as possible COYB 🚜🚜🚜🔵⚪

buzbyblue added 15:54 - Jul 30
Will the chatroom be open on here for this game Phil?

WeWereZombies added 16:07 - Jul 30
The chat room is always open, buzbyblue. Sometimes it feels like you can check out but can you really leave?

RobITFC added 16:10 - Jul 30
Hope the Millwall don't bring any covid with them. Seems they have had a lot of issues pre-season.

Len_Brennan added 17:06 - Jul 30
I'd like to see Pigott behind Norwood, with Burns & Fraser in the wide roles; not sure where Chaplin would be best, but I don't see him as the main striker, despite Cook saying he is the best finisher he has worked with.
With a new young centre half coming in as a likely starter, I think Toto might be Edmondson's partner over Woolfenden.

bluelodgeblue added 17:12 - Jul 30
Scared me for a moment I thought the Headline suggested Marcus was putting himself forward?????🥴🥴😂🥴😂🥴🥴😂🥴

dirtydingusmagee added 18:03 - Jul 30
must expect a bit of juggling with the team for a little while [unless we get off to a flyer] i know many will disagree but still dont think Norwood will change and will likely find himself drifting out of the team.Be happy for him to prove im wrong .The other worry for me is KVY, and his fitness ,but perhaps they way things were last year with fitness its made me paranoid. lol. COYB A nice little win against Milwall will set the coming season up nicely now .

blue_mist added 18:57 - Jul 30

I expect Pigott up front.
Burns and Chaplin wide and Fraser in the middle.
Evans and Harper holding.
Toto and Edmondson centre backs.
KVY and Penny full backs.

I also think Toto will be Edmondson's partner over Woolfenden, though this might change over time.

Evans captain.

Blueballs83 added 01:53 - Jul 31
Agree with Blue_mist. To be able to bring on Norwood and Bonne shows how far we have come. One extra wideman (perhaps a young gun on loan) a back up defensive midfielder and extra left back would be useful. Can’t wait for this season to start!

TractorFrog added 09:00 - Jul 31
'Millwall, Millwall, you're all really dreadful, and all your girlfriends are unfulfilled and alienated.' - Bernard Black


Paddy39 added 09:51 - Jul 31
Anyone know what tickets have been sold for the match against Morecambe?

Marinersnose added 10:30 - Jul 31
I’m hoping that Dobra is starting this game. His performances pre season justifies selection. He may not be a new signing but he has quality and deserves to keep the shirt. I’m hoping Nsiala is picked ahead of Woolfenden as to me this would signal our intent to play long. Nsiala cannot play with the ball at his feet. He is an excellent stopper but should only be back up if the club wants to develop and progress. He has improved but so has Kenlock.
Agree with others regarding Norwood. He can score goals at this level and he can make the strikers position his own, but the ball is in his court. I’m not convinced.

brazilblue added 10:46 - Jul 31
Is it possible to stream this one?

roystevensonsrocket added 11:33 - Jul 31
I must admit I’m disappointed with the club that they have not allowed ANY match, even the U23 competition when played on a Tuesday to be streamed live . I live in Rochdale and can only go to matches when they play in the north west . There are many supporters abroad as well .Obviously sat games are out understandably , but I thought they might have thrown us ex. Ipswich pats a few Tues morsels .

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 11:48 - Jul 31
roystevensonsrocket: Agree it's a pity it's not streamed. I would have paid an extra tenner to watch today - even though I've already got iFollow for all the league matches.

Monkey_Blue added 12:38 - Jul 31
It’s all just about fitness and hoping all the new players gel. It’s not easy for the players who were already here given they are playing with strangers let alone the new signings. Agree with comments on Norwood. Not convinced by him from a character point of view. Comes across as a big time Charlie when his talent isn’t big tine. I’ve also made my thoughts clear on people who drink drive. Scum Of the earth.

Nobbysnuts added 13:31 - Jul 31
What about drug drivers monkey blue? Dozzell....the bloke is a disgrace.

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