by Brian Stater
Millwall manager George Graham has ruled out two key men for the start of the Third Division campaign.
Both are struggling to shrug off leg injuries, and Graham said, “I doubt very much if they will be ready in time. They will certainly be lacking match practice, and nobody will come in to the side until they're ready.” Ironically, Smith is the man Graham signed in a £17,500 midsummer deal with Plymouth, after months of protracted negotiations.
Graham has another centre half pairing available in transfer-listed duo Dave Cusack and Dave Martin, and they are almost
Certain to fill the berths in tonight's glamour friendly with First Division Luton at The Den.
Meanwhile Tony Kinsella trained yesterday for the first time this week after injuring a foot in Saturday's 5-1 hammering of Charlton, and defender Keith Stevens is also approaching full fitness.
The Luton clash will see the return to South London of former Palace star Vince Hilaire and manager David Pleat is planning to field a full-strength line up. Graham said, “Luton are a very fine side, and this will be a great test for us.”
Right: Lindsay Smith Injury Blow
Millwall 1 Luton 2 by Brian Stater
TONY KINSELLA has come in from the cold to hot up Millwall's bid for Third Division honours. Kinsella has given notice that Millwall will have an abundance of midfield artistry.
The 22 year-old, who admits he was rescued from the wilderness when manager George Graham brought him back to Millwall after three barren years, gave a sizzling display in Friday's friendly.
The Lions were handed time and room to play by First Division Luton, and Kinsella capitalised by conjuring some moments of magic.
The slightly-built youngster, who left The Den in a big-money move to America in 1981, has a matured into a more complete, player, showing a vision that could prove priceless in unlocking Third Division defences.
In the opening minutes he curled in a clever lob that allowed Kevin Bremner to turn and cross for Steve Lovell to head narrowly wide, and later set up the move which saw substitute Teddy Sheringham hit a post
Kinsella, who gave Luton full back Mitchell a torrid time, also sent a snap-shot inches over the bar midway, through the second half.
In Kinsella and Anton Otulakowski, the Lions must -have two of the most outstanding left sided men in their division.
In Friday's action Bremner forced home an 84th minute goal, to wipe out the lead Luton had seized three minutes earlier, when Ricky Hall pounced on a defensive error.
Luton stole victory in the dying minute when David Moss lashed home, following another mistake.
Action Man: Millwall's Steve Lovell goes past Ricky Hill
Millwall: Sansome, Stevens, Roffey, Mcleary. Martin, Cusack, Lovell, Bremner, Neal (Sheringham), Charlton, Kinsella
Attendance: 1,558. Referee: D Vickers (Ilford).
Millwall Last Season
Div III: 9th
FA Cup: Round 2
Milk Cup: Round 2
Transfers Out: None
Tony Kinsella (from Ipswich),
Les Briley (from Aldershot),
Lindsay Smith (from Plymouth),
Bill Roffey (from Orient).
Chairman: Alan Thorne
Manager: George Graham
Assistant: Theo Foley
Captain: Les Briley
Tony Kinsella is back at Millwall-facing probably the most challenging season of his career, writes Michael Hart.
“He at the cross-roads this season,” said manager George Graham. “He's got to accept the challenge of third Division football and give his career some fresh impetus.”
Kinsella showed outstanding promises as a youngster at Millwall and was capped by Eire at Under-21 level. He had a fruitless spell with Tampa Bay Rowdies and then tested his potential in the first division with Ipswich.
But having played only a handful of games, Ipswich decided to release him on a free in the close season.
“I’m delighted he's come to Millwall because he good in pre-season training” said Graham.
“He’s got a good attitude but must improve his goal-scoring record.”
The signing of Kinsella and Aldershot’s Les Briley gives Millwall impressive strength in depth in midfield. Graham also has Nicky Chatterton, Anton Otulakowski, Steve Lowndes, Steve Lovell and Alan Mcleary challenging for midfield roles.
Kinsella could start the season at full-back-a position he has played previously for Millwall -because Paul Robinson broke a leg in a pre-season friendly match against Colchester.
Graham's other early-season worry concerns Briley and Otulakowski, both of whom are suspended for the opening matches. But once they are available, Graham will have an abundance of midfield talent.
“I wish I had the same choice with strikers” he said “I’m still trying to sign a quality goalscorer.”
A bonus for his diligence came when he signed centre half Lindsay Smith, a key figure in Plymouth's FA Cup run last season, for £17,000.
“Were gradually beginning to get the squad right.” he said.
by Brian Stater|
MILLWALL are awaiting a specialist's report on star striker Dean Neal. The 23-year-old forward, who top-scored for the Lions last season, has a trapped nerve in his neck.
The painful injury hit Neal during Friday's friendly with Luton, and Den chief George Graham was yesterday anxiously waiting for the medical verdict.
Meanwhile, Steve Lowndes is racing to shrug off a foot injury in time for Saturday's opening Third Division clash at home to Swansea.
Lowndes was hurt in a training-ground tackle with Anton Otulakowski late last week, after spending much of last season on the sidelines with a dislocated toe. Otulakowski and new captain Les Briley will miss the first two matches through suspension.
Meanwhile Graham has praised the midfield performance of Tony Kinsella in the 2-1 defeat by Luton. He said,“Tony did very well and has a lot of ability adapted He hasn't quite to our style of play yet, but he's learning very fast.”
by Maurice Woolf|
MILLWALL were tipped for the top last season but were let down by their disastrous away results. This time they should go all the way and finish in the honours. Manager George Graham has bought wisely but admits he still needs another front player.
Graham said-“Since I've been at the Den we've improved and we can do so again. so we must he in with a chance time as we finished ninth last season.”
“We're optimistic and we challengers in every position except for strikers. But I’ll have to wait to get the player want.”
“I'm not going to buy just for the sake of buying. We have to get a player equally as good if not better than the ones we have. And that could take a little time.”
George, whom I've known ever since his days at Arsenal isn't one isn’t one given to undue optimism, so I think I'll have a small wager on their promotion chances.
Graham bought Les Briley, whom he made captain. from Aldershot, Lindsay Smith from Plymouth, Tony Kinsella from Ipswich and Bill Roffey from Orient. He let Andy Massey, David Stride and Dean White go.
Millwall already have a crop of injuries, with Robinson out for at least six months with a broken leg. Briley and Otulakowski are two of the best midfield players in the third division, with Kinsella, Nicky Chatterton, Steve Lowndes, Alan Mcleary and Steve Lovell challenging for places.
At the back, in addition to Smith, David Martin, Dave Cusack, and Micky Nutton, when fit form a formidable defence, with Keith Stevens and Bill Roffey also available. Keeper Paul Sansome came on a bundle- to use the Old Kent Road vernacular- and Peter Wells will be challenging him for that position. Roffey is solid at left back.
Dean Neal and Kevin Bremner haven't any challengers upfront, but Millwall could use Chatterton, Lowndes and Kinsella as attackers. The squad is almost right and if Graham signs a striker quickly they could lead the promotion race from start to finish.
One guarantee I will give is that every match, whether in the Associate Members’ cup, the Milk cup, the FA cup, or a league game, will be played to win - or Graham will have someone's head for it.
My prediction: Promotion with a side that will not only stay up but be good enough to well the following season in division two.
MANAGER: George Graham
NEW SIGNINGS: Lindsay Smith (Plymouth) £17,500; Tony Kinsella (Ipswich) free; Les Briley (Aldershot) £20,000 + player-exchange; Bill Roffey (Orient) free
LAST SEASON: 9th.
By Vince Hilaire
DEAN NEAL, my old school-mate from our East End days, is the player who can lead Millwall in to the Second Division next season.
And I've been so impressed by Millwall in pre-season that I'm putting a hefty bet on them winning promotion.
Before I got my break with Crystal Palace, Dean, myself and Clive Allen played in the same Sunday football league. Clive has gone on to command million pound transfer fees, play for England and now get a move to Spurs.
But when we were kids in the East End, we expected Deano to be the England player - not Clive Allen!
My new club Luton met Millwall in a friendly at The Den last week and we managed a slim 2-1 win. But Millwall's promise was there to see with Dean and busy Kevin Bremner up front. They are solid in all departments. I spoke to the manager, George Graham, after the match and he seems very satisfied with Millwall's pre-season form.
I don't blame him especially after giving Charlton a 5-1 hiding. In my first season as a professional at Palace, I played in the same line-up as George
and I was later to see his coaching talents when he came back to look after the youth team.
George always had a touch of class and style as a player with Palace and Arsenal. That's what he's trying to bring - with some success - in the Third Division with Millwall.
In the same way as Luton, Millwall are not a glamour club, but they have a reputation for being very well organised. On the field, George has found the perfect blend and he has the strongest midfield in the division. That was a shrewd move when he brought Tony Kinsella back. I reckon Tony will be a revelation this season. The signs were there for all to see in the Luton game.
Then there's the other new signing, Les Briley from Aldershot. I remember Les during his Wimbledon days as a busy player who is positive in the tackle and always prepared to support the attack.
Up front with Dean Neal, who's still only 23, is Kevin Bremner. Without a doubt, Kevin is the hardest working striker I know.
Another former Palace player, Steve Lovell, is invaluable. With clubs who operate on a smaller squad, it's vital to have utility men. Steve can play anywhere and I think one of George Graham's most important jobs is to persuade Dave Martin to come off the transfer list.
Dave is a great all-rounder. With him and Steve Lovell in the squad, George will have competition for places which is always a healthy sign.
Vince Hilaire was talking to Brian Alexander
Neal: The man who can boost Millwall