‘A Danny Mac crunching tackle has set everyone off’ – Millwall manager on flying wing-back

GARY Rowett highlighted Danny McNamara’s ability to get the home crowd going after the wing-back’s first two goals for the club in the 4-1 win over Barnsley at The Den on Saturday.

McNamara put the hosts 2-0 up on his 50th Lions appearance.

“He’s a right wing-back so part of the role is – particularly at home – to join in with attacks and get forward, be an extra man in those areas,” Rowett said.

“We’ve seen Scotty [Malone] do it really well the other side. They’ve got that licence to do it.

“Danny’s been very consistent, very good defensively. It’s not a position he’s played in up until going to St Johnstone, he was always a bit more of a conventional right-back. So it’s something we’re trying to help him with to add to his game.

“He’s a willing learner and he works very, very hard. Whichever way you look at it, goals and assists are going to define how good a wing-back you are.

“It’s gambling into those positions and it’s being in those positions and reading the game that hopefully he’ll take a little bit of confidence from.

“Lenny [Ryan Leonard’s] injury has given him that consistent run of games or that opportunity to build that consistent run.

“He’s been really good, particularly in some of the home games. You know what it’s like, the crowd appreciate some of those full-blooded challenges. There have been games this season when a Danny McNamara crunching tackle has set everyone off and the atmosphere’s started.

“A lot of the players have been very consistent this season. We’re in a very competitive league, a very tough league with lots of good teams at the top end of the division that would expect to get promoted this season.”

Oliver Burke scored his first goal in Lions colours since his January loan move from Sheffield United.

It restored Millwall’s two-goal advantage.

Rowett added: “It was a good time to score. I was pleased for Burkey as well because he’s worked hard. He started really well for us and then got his injury.

“You can see his pace down the sides, that’s why I played him today. Bradders has been out a long time, he started his first game against Luton and then he goes in again against Swansea, a tough, physical game.

“I felt it would help us with Burkey today, pace and a bit more direct in those inside channels with Barnsley’s back four which is something we worked on.

“I thought we caused them quite a lot of problems, second half the more aggressively we were defensively and more transitions we had. We probably should have scored more goals but that one, the timing of it, was a very important one.

Millwall are four points off the play-offs, but Rowett is not overly focused on studying the league table.

“I spoke to the players, we’ve got to take care of our own business,” Rowett said. “That’s all we can do. If we perform, if we go and win games, do the right things within those games to take the three points, then at the end of it you look at the league table and see where you are. It’s as simple as that.

“I think statistically at this stage of the season the teams in and around the top six quite often don’t take as many points as some of the teams near the bottom of the league.

“There will be one or two that maybe falter because there’s pressure. For us, there’s no pressure, but the pressure is on how we should perform.

“That first 45 minutes is not good enough to get us anywhere near where we want to be. But the players, as usual, responded and the response was a much, much better performance and deserved three points.”

Image: Millwall FC 

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John Kelly