Exclusive: Millwall invited to Russia to play Zenit friendly

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MILLWALL could fly to Russia for a pre-season friendly with Zenit St Petersburg this summer.

The Lions have been offered the chance to take on one of Europe’s biggest clubs during a three-day, paid-for trip in July.

Ian Holloway has confirmed that he is “seriously considering” accepting Zenit’s invitation.

Boss Holloway has revealed that Millwall are struggling to organise pre-season friendlies on home soil because of restrictions imposed by police.

A potential fixture with Dagenham & Redbridge has already been scrapped.

The Lions could be forced to play a number of their friendlies behind-closed-doors but are exploring the possibility of hosting a foreign side at The Den.

A game against Parma FC is one possibility but Millwall would have to stump up a fee to lure the Italian outfit to SE16.

“We might have to fly out to Russia,” Holloway told the Southwark News.

“Zenit are going to put us up for three days so that we can play a game.

“They use the same training camp as us in Portugal and I spoke to one or two of them last time we were out there, and now we might be able to get a game against them.

“I’m seriously considering taking them up on their offer.”

Zenit, who are managed by former Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, have superstars Hulk (pictured), Andrei Arshavin and Axel Witsel in their ranks.

The Russian campaign begins in the middle of July so the Champions League club will be in need of a competitive warm-up match before the big kick-off.

If the game goes ahead, it’s unclear whether it would be held at the 21,000-seater Petrovsky Stadium or at Zenit’s training ground.

Holloway has expressed his frustration at the obstacles Millwall have encountered in their attempts to organise summer fixtures.

He said: “We can hardly get any friendlies, to be honest. It’s really, really difficult after what happened at Wembley.

“Where do we go to? Dagenham & Redbridge? We can’t play them apparently because of the police bill.

“I don’t really care if we end up with behind-closed-doors games – our fans will be punished but not the players.

“The fans might not get to see us much this summer because we cannot seem to get that many games.

“We might also have to pay for a Spanish or Italian team to play us at The Den because I have never experienced a situation like this, but I suppose that comes with the territory.

“We will have to make sure our fans will want to come along and watch a game like that because we’ll need to make up the fee.

“Parma are one of the sides who might be over, but we’re not sure about anyone else.”

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