HARRY BACK­ING ROOKIE BIR­CHAM

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Hodg­son

MARC Bir­cham is the per­fect fit to suc­ceed Kenny Jack­ett at Mill­wall ac­cord­ing to his cur­rent boss Harry Red­knapp.

The for­mer Lions mid­fielder has been in­stalled as the early favourite to take over from Jack­ett, who re­signed this week af­ter help­ing Mill­wall to beat the drop from the Cham­pi­onship. Bir­cham be­gan his play­ing ca­reer at Mill­wall, mak­ing more than 100 ap­pear­ances be­tween 1996 and 2002 be­fore mov­ing to QPR and re­tir­ing from play­ing in 2009 due to in­jury.

Good choice

Cur­rently one of Red­knapp’s coach­ing staff at Lof­tus Road, the 34-year-old has worked with the youth teams and as­sumed care­taker boss du­ties four years ago – leav­ing the cur­rent QPR boss to ad­mit Bir­cham would go with his bless­ing.

“He’d be a re­ally good choice and it would be a great op­por­tu­nity for him,” Red­knapp said.

“He’s a great lad, he works hard with the young play­ers here and re­ally knows the game. He would jump at it if he was given the chance.

“Peo­ple will talk about a lack of ex­pe­ri­ence but how do you get it

Lions old boy in frame at the Den

if no one gives you a chance? Ob­vi­ously he hasn’t man­aged any­where else but he has his­tory hav­ing played there. You'll never know if you’re ca­pa­ble un­til you are given an op­por­tu­nity and some­where like Mill­wall would be bril­liant for Marc.”

Jack­ett, who spent six and a half years at the Den and held the ti­tle of the league’s long­est-serv­ing man­ager, stepped aside feel­ing it was time for some­one new.

This sea­son he led Mill­wall to an FA Cup semi-fi­nal with Wi­gan, but a run of one win in their last nine league games saw them beat the drop by just two points.

Jack­ett, who has been tipped as one of the favourites to take over at Wolves, said:“Af­ter al­most six sea­sons I feel the time is right for a new chal­lenge, and also for a new man­ager to come into Mill­wall with fresh ideas.

“I would like to thank the chair­man, the board of di­rec­tors, play­ers, staff and sup­port­ers for their back­ing.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

RE­TURN­ING LION? Marc Bir­cham in ac­tion for QPR. Inset: At the start of his Mill­wall ca­reer

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