Millwall’s Jed Wallace urges realism as Lions flirt with top six with 12 Championship games left

JED Wallace urged some realism around Millwall for the rest of the season – pointing to an injury list that has recently seen more than half a first team ruled out. 

Coming into this week, Millwall had Jake Cooper, Connor Mahoney, Maikel Kieftenbeld, Ryan Leonard, Murray Wallace and Kenneth Zohore in the treatment room. All could arguably be in a first-choice starting XI.

Millwall went on a nine-game unbeaten run in the league from mid-January to late February to briefly raise hopes that they could mount another promotion challenge.

But injuries to key players and the relentless nature of the campaign realistically means a top-half finish could be regarded as success.

Millwall’s target before the season was a top-six challenge, and many fans expected it after they achieved eighth last season.

“We’ve got to be realistic, we’ve got an injury crisis,” Wallace said. “This season was always going to be about who could keep their best players fit, and a few of our best players are in the physio room.

“We have good characters in the squad who can come in and make a difference, the likes of Willo [Shaun Williams], Pearcey [Alex Pearce], with their leadership.

“Probably ten weeks ago there were people who were miles away, like Ben Thompson who is now a big player for us.

“Getting Billy Mitchell back is a big one, I know he’s only a young lad but he can play a couple of positions.

“Mahlon [Romeo] has returned to good form, Danny Mac is pushing Mahlon. There are a lot of positives.

“But a few weeks ago I was looking at it in training and thinking we might have a couple of established pros that might not even make the nine-man bench. Now it’s if you’re fit you’re probably going to be playing.

“It can change so quickly. But if we can hang around that top half and with players like Coops coming back, Kief who did well, Connor, we’ve got a lot of lads that can make us stronger from where we are now.

“I’d like to think the squad couldn’t get many more injuries so hopefully we can get a little bit of luck on that side and push on.”

Wallace has been impressed with what January signing George Evans has added to the squad. Evans has played mostly in defence and rescued a point for the Lions with a 95th-minute equaliser at Luton last month.

“George has been a massive addition for us, much like Ryan Leonard, Murray Wallace – guys you can rely on week-in, week-out,” Wallace said.

“He’s six foot, physical, good on the ball. He’s going to be a really good player for Millwall over the next two or three seasons.

“We’re happy to have him and he’s probably not even played his best position yet and he’s done as well as he has. That’s a promising sign.

“And the sooner we get players back and have even more competition for places then we’re going to be stronger towards the end of the season.”

Image: Millwall FC