Millwall keeper assesses Crystal Palace defeat as he is set to return against Nottingham Forest

BARTOSZ Bialkowski is hoping to be back between the sticks when Millwall host Nottingham Forest this weekend to make it 117 consecutive league appearances.

Bialkowski, 34, is third on the Lions’ all-time list of consecutive Football League games. He will overtake Alex Stepney (137) if he plays every league game for the rest of this season.

David Forde (141) will then be the only one left in his sights.

Bialkowski had the rare experience of watching Millwall from the bench last weekend as they lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup.

Bulkowski’s replacement, George Long, had little chance for the Palace goals as Michael Olise curled in the first off the post and then crossed for the unmarked Jean-Philippe Mateta to head in the second.

But Bialkowski felt the Lions acquitted themselves well against the Premier League side.

“First half was very good,” Bialkowski said. “We knew they were going to come at us and they’ve got quality players. Even their bench was very strong.

“We knew what we could expect and two moments of brilliance from them resulted in two good goals. Maybe not so good from our defensive perspective.

“He [Olise] is a quality player. It was difficult from a defensive point of view. You want to keep him on his weaker foot but he showed some great skills and scored a good goal.

“Second half we still could have scored a late goal, we had quite good chances after putting the ball into a great area.

“But it wasn’t to be.

“It’s one of those where during the week you’re going into the game thinking it’s going to be nice to have a breather and some rest. But match-day you get to the dressing room and feel, ‘I want to play’. Especially against a Premier League team.

“I’d always rather play than not.”

*Read a longer interview with Bartosz Bialkowski in this week’s Southwark News where he talks about cold therapy and listening to podcasts with Novak Djokovic and a Dutch extreme athlete as he explains his recovery techniques.

Image: Millwall FC 

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John Kelly