LIONS ARE DESPERATE TO SKIP MORE WEMBLEY HEARTACHE
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.”