Lions will thrive now, says Craig

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Luke Baker

MILL­WALL could, and per­haps should, have had their play-off spot sewn up by now – but cap­tain Tony Craig is con­fi­dent the Lions will roar in their fi­nal­day nerve-jan­gler against Bris­tol Rovers.

If the Lions had beaten ei­ther Ox­ford or Fleet­wood in the last two weeks – in­stead of the 3-0 and 1-0 losses they suf­fered – they would head into to­day’s clash at the Me­mo­rial Sta­dium sim­ply play­ing for mo­men­tum head­ing into the play-offs.

In­stead, they’re fight­ing for their play-off lives but Craig is just re­lieved their des­tiny is still in their own hands.

The de­fender knows vic­tory will seal a play­off place, while any­thing less will mean re­ly­ing on Southend and Rochdale to slip up.

And the 32-year-old claims he and the rest of Neil Har­ris’ squad will thrive on that pres­sure, de­spite their re­cent strug­gles.

“It’s a game we’re look­ing for­ward to,” said Craig. “We’ve put our­selves in a fan­tas­tic po­si­tion.

“If you look at our points tally since midDe­cem­ber, we’ve had a very good re­turn.

“We would have liked it to be over by now but it’s still in our hands and it’s a great game to be in­volved in this Sun­day.

“It’s like a play-off game al­ready – we know what’s at stake and what we’ve got to do on the day.

“As a pro­fes­sional, you want to play in th­ese sort of games and thank­fully we’ve got a squad who I know will thrive.

“We’ll have con­fi­dence be­cause we know what’s at stake, we know what to ex­pect from Bris­tol and we know their strengths and weak­nesses.

“It’s about ex­e­cut­ing the game­plan on the day.”

In pos­i­tive news for Mill­wall, 26-year-old cen­tre-back Shaun Hutchin­son has a chance to be fit for to­day’s game, de­spite suf­fer­ing a rib in­jury at Fleet­wood last week.

Hutchin­son’s ad­di­tion would be a boost for the Lions as Bris­tol Rovers have scored more league goals than them – with 65 – in a promis­ing cam­paign.

In their first sea­son after pro­mo­tion from League Two, Dar­rell Clarke’s Pi­rates are guar­an­teed a spot in the top ten and de­spite be­ing out of the play-off mix, Craig is an­tic­i­pat­ing a tricky con­test.

“They’re a good side from front to back and have done su­perbly to push to­wards those pro­mo­tion places this sea­son,” he added.

“Un­for­tu­nately for them they’ve fallen a few points shy but they’ll come at us on Sun­day and will want to end the sea­son on a high.”

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