LIONS ARE DES­PER­ATE TO SKIP MORE WEM­B­LEY HEARTACHE

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE PLAY-OFF PREVIEW - By Char­lie Peat

MILL­WALL are des­per­ate to avoid a sec­ond Wem­b­ley heart­break in two sea­sons as they pre­pare to take on Brad­ford City, ac­cord­ing to de­fender Shaun Hutchin­son.

The 26-year-old joined the Lions last sum­mer, two months af­ter Neil Har­ris’ side lost 3-2 to Barns­ley in last sea­son’s play-off fi­nal.

The South London club are now set to grace the new Wem­b­ley turf for the fifth time in ten years - and Hutchin­son doesn’t want to feel the pain his team-mates suf­fered last year.

“It’s my first time in a play­off fi­nal,” said the cen­tre-back. “We are de­ter­mined to make it work and get pro­mo­tion.

“We don’t want to come back next sea­son with the dis­ap­point­ment of los­ing the fi­nal and have to try to do it all again.”

The Lions ousted Scun­thorpe in the semi-fi­nal with a 3-2 vic­tory at Glan­ford Park, thanks to a dou­ble from the ex­pe­ri­enced Steve Mori­son and a goal from Lee Gre­gory, su­perbly as­sisted by Mori­son.

Hutchin­son be­lieves the two strik­ers can make all the dif­fer­ence against the Ban­tams on Satur­day.

The for­mer Mother­well man said: “One of the rea­sons I came to Mill­wall was be­cause of those two up top. They are guar­an­teed goals.

“If you keep feed­ing them, they will score. They will be mas­sively im­por­tant for us

next week. They are a real hand­ful.

“It was a bril­liant re­sult (against Scun­thorpe). The boys were fan­tas­tic over two legs. We were dis­ap­pointed not to get the win at home (the match fin­ished goal­less) but we knew we could go there and get a re­sult.”

Mill­wall and Brad­ford played out two 1-1 draws dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son and all signs point to another close af­fair at Wem­b­ley.

“Un­der Stu­art McCall this year, Brad­ford have changed their phi­los­o­phy a lit­tle bit and keep the ball on the floor,” said Hutchin­son.

“They have a good bal­ance with the two wingers, so they will be a hand­ful. They are a tough side but we are both equals at this stage.

“In the league we had two draws. There was noth­ing to call be­tween the two sides and I ex­pect it to be the same next week.”

The Ge­ordie doesn’t score too many goals, two all sea­son, but his win­ner against Bris­tol Rovers in a thrilling 4-3 on the fi­nal day of the reg­u­lar sea­son helped se­cure the fi­nal League One play-off spot.

“If we end up go­ing up, that goal will look good on my be­half,” he said. “If that hadn’t go in, we might not have made the play-offs, but every­body de­serves credit for get­ting us to this stage.”

Mill­wall have been al­lo­cated al­most 38,000 tick­ets for the pro­mo­tion show­down and the cen­tre-back thinks the fans can play a huge role.

“We will sell out our al­lo­ca­tion,” he said. “You know when our fans are in town. They will make a lot of noise and get be­hind us. They have been a great fol­low­ing.”

It has been a sea­son blighted by in­juries for Hutchin­son since he joined on a free last sum­mer from Ful­ham, mak­ing just 21 ap­pear­ances in all com­pe­ti­tions.

But, with a play-off fi­nal on the way, Hutchin­son is con­fi­dent the sea­son can fin­ish on a high per­son­ally and for the club.

“It has been a bit of a roller coaster, to be hon­est. I was re­ally happy to be sign­ing here,” he said.

“It has been frus­trat­ing with in­juries and took a while to get go­ing. But, with where we are now, I am on a real high and I am hop­ing the sea­son ends on a high.”

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