Millwall striker confident the Lions have what it takes to start moving up the Championship table

TOM Bradshaw insists the Millwall squad have the “character” and “belief” to get through their most difficult spell of the season in the league.

Their 2-1 defeat to Coventry at The Den dropped the Lions to 17th in the Championship table, six points above the relegation zone and 12 off sixth.

It’s a run of just one win in 13 league games, but they showed their resilience before Christmas when they won at Bristol City after 10 games without victory, which was their worst sequence for more than seven years. The 10th game was arguably their worst performance of the season, when they were 3-0 down at Middlesbrough after 20 minutes.

Bradshaw felt the side didn’t get what they deserved as they sought to end that winless streak. Indeed, boss Gary Rowett revealed the referees authority said Millwall should have been awarded three penalties for handballs in the 2-1 defeat at Blackburn.

Millwall have also been luckless on the injury front, with Rowett not having a full squad to choose from for any game this season.

But Bradshaw has full faith in the Lions’ “mental strength” and in the quality and depth of the squad.

“Since the gaffer’s been in charge that was our longest run without a win. But I don’t think we deserved to go that long without a win,” Bradshaw said.

“It wasn’t like a run of 10 games where the performances were awful. A lot of the games we came out unlucky not to get a win.

“Sometimes that happens in football. That’s where you need really good mental strength in the team. We’ve got good characters in the changing room and you need that when you need to pick up a win.

“We’ve got belief that we are a good team and we should be higher in the table than where we are. Hopefully we can turn it around and start moving up the table.

“We’ve got strength in depth in the squad. We’ve got a lot of options in every position and undoubtedly the gaffer will need those players between now and the end of the season. There are so many games in a shorter time this year. It’s tough to keep the same team week-in, week-out when you’re playing three games a week.

“It’s vitally important this year that we have a stronger squad with people fighting for positions. That’s only going to drive everyone on to improve.

“It was no secret that as a team we weren’t happy with the performance against Middlesbrough. It wasn’t a Millwall-esque performance. Generally we’ve been really solid defensively. That’s never really been an issue for us.

“When we went out and performed in the manner we did, especially the first 20 minutes, it was a bit of a wake-up call for us. There’s nothing you can do about results after games, you’ve just got to try and get back to work to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Hopefully we can start to pick up more wins.”

Bradshaw has been one of Millwall’s better performers recently. He scored two goals in two league games before yet another disruption to the campaign when the festive schedule against Bournemouth and Watford was called off.

There was a boost for Bradshaw as December drew to a close when Millwall took up an option to extend his contract by 12 months.

He has been playing off the main striker recently, a position that allows him to drift into goal-scoring areas unseen by defenders.

“It’s a position I know well, I’ve played a lot there throughout my career,” he said. “It becomes second nature, I don’t need to think about my positioning and where I need to be on the pitch, whether they’ve got the ball or whether we’ve got the ball. I know exactly where I need to be without having to think about it.

“I can then put most of my energy and thought process into trying to score goals. I really enjoy that position. I feel comfortable in it and am really happy playing there.”

Image: Millwall FC

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John Kelly