Millwall manager on Jake Cooper being left out for league game for first time in four years

GARY Rowett has backed Jake Cooper to bounce back after the defender had the unusual experience of being dropped for a league game in the -1 draw against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Cooper was left out of a line-up in the Championship when fully fit for the first time in almost four years, with Shaun Hutchinson back and Murray Wallace preferred on the left of a back three.

Millwall were solid at the back and only conceded when Max Lowe’s attempted cross went over Bartosz Bialkowski.

“We missed Hutchy,” Rowett said. “Hutchy coming back, I had a big call whether to play Coops or Murray Wallace.

“I just felt as though Murray’s performances have earned him the right to go in there. Coops will be back, he’ll be stronger for it, he’s a top, top player.

“I had a chance to put Danny McNamara back in but he hasn’t played much and I didn’t want to do that with Sheyi [Ojo], Benik [Afobe], Hutchy having been out.

“We’ve been limited in what we can do. I felt it was a game that late on if we had a little bit more pace to bring on, the likes of Mason [Bennett], the likes of Jed [Wallace], the game becomes very different late on.

“So far, we’ve been solid, we’ve been organised, we’ve been hard to play against. But I just think there is another five or 10 per cent to come in order for us to win games.

“Clearly we want to win games. You saw that today, we tried to win the game but we’ve got a little bit more to do.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly