by Brian Stater
MILLWALL captain Les Briley has a point to prove at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
Briley will lead the Lions in the opening leg, of the Milk Cup clash with Chelsea - the club who rejected him as a teenager eight years ago.
Lambeth-born Briley, who is fast emerging as a key man in Millwall's midfield, recalled,“I was there in the days when Eddie McCreadie was manager. The club were having a hard time financially and decided they were over staffed. I was one of the players they let go on free transfers.”
“Obviously it's going to be a bit special to go back there now and lead out the team.”
And Briley is confident Millwall can topple First Division Chelsea in this second round tie, which sees the second leg staged at The Den on October 9.
He said, “I think we can go to Stamford Bridge and nick a result and then beat them at our place. We don't need to fear anyone at The Den.”
The tie also holds extra spice for Micky Nutton, the defender who was signed from Chelsea by manager George Graham 18 months ago.
Graham is hoping for a repeat of the 3-0 win Millwall notched against West Brom at the same stage last season, but warned, “Chelsea will be expecting a hard game. They've had us watched in the last couple of matches, but we will stick to our normal game. We will be out to give a good account of ourselves. Promotion is our priority but a good cup run would be a tremendous bonus.”
Graham is likely to name the same side that hammered Wigan 4-1 on Saturday, while defender Lindsay Smith may have a run out in the reserves at home to Southampton today.
The Lions chief has named striker Kerry Dixon and midfield man David Speedie as the men he fears most in the Chelsea line-up.
Tomorrow's game is NOT all-ticket. Millwall fans without tickets will be admitted through the 'visitors' turnstiles. The second leg, on October 9, is all ticket and the tickets for Millwall fans will be available at next Tuesday's game against Derby County. Season ticket holders can obtain their tickets at any time.
An FA disciplinary commission have cleared Millwall of responsibility for the crowd trouble that occurred in the home match with Swansea on August 25. The FA team visited the Den last week.
Les Briley returns to Stamford Bridge
By Michael Hart
Millwall’s George Graham tonight tests his managerial development against two former playing colleague John Neal and. John Hollins-who now form the management team at Chelsea.
The Milk Cup second round, first leg brings them together again at Stamford Bridge when Third Division Millwall bid to upset the ambitions of first Division Chelsea.
Graham played alongside Neal in the Aston Villa team of the early 1960s and was Chelsea side with Hollins when they won the League Cup in 1965.
Neal and Hollins steered Chelsea back into Division One last season, while Graham’s rebuilding at The Den has produced a team currently fourth.
“Looking at it realistically they should beat us,” admitted Graham today. “But we will be looking for a result that gives some hope in the second leg at our ground.”
Hollins said “George has been schooled well and has got his team doing all the things he wants then to do.”
“I know it looks easy for us, but everything is against the bigger side on these occasions. If we go into this game think it's going to be simple we do so at our peril.
Millwall beat Kerry Dixon’s former team Reading, 5-4 on aggregate, in the first round.
Dixon has scored only once in seven appearances for Chelsea this season and Graham picked out David Speedie and Pat Nevin as the players presenting the biggest threat to his team.
Chelsea will probably field the side that drew 0-0 at Luton but Millwall may recall former Plymouth centre-half Lindsey Smith, who has recovered from injury.
by Maurice Woolf
I appeal to Millwall fans not to get involved in battles with Chelsea fans when the Lions play their Milk Cup first leg match at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday.
The Lions have already won many admirers for their entertaining, attacking football this season, with Saturday's 3-3 draw at Walsall the most recent example.
I'm told there were 600 Millwall fans at Fellows Park, which is fantastic support for a Third Division side - comparable, in proportion. with Manchester United's following.
How great it would be, therefore, if the two games against Chelsea - the second leg is at the Den on Tuesday, October 9 - pass without serious incident.
I know Chelsea fans aren't exactly noted for their good behaviour, but that shouldn't encourage Millwall followers to start swapping kicks and punches.
Be dignified, and encourage your side with the famous Lions roar that has led the team to famous Cup victories.
It's not the real fan who causes trouble - it's the hangers on who go along to any match looking for trouble.
It needn't happen, and with common sense from both sets of supporters it won't. Trouble makers should he handed over to the police to he dealt with and real Chelsea and Millwall fans could do their part by pointing out the hooligans.
I can tell you that Millwall will not tolerate anybody found guilty of misbehaving at a match. Wouldn't it be a relief to talk about soccer without the aggro?
This Saturday Millwall are at home to Wigan and they should maintain their 100 per cent home record, even without the services of Lindsay Smith, who needed six stitches in his leg after being carried off at Walsall.
Skipper Les Briley is also doubtful after turning his ankle in training. Millwall are playing excellent attacking soccer and their gates should increase. They deserve more support. They will find it hard at Chelsea, who have the more experienced players and will do well to hold their opponents to a one or two goal advantage.
But with nothing to lose George Graham's men can shock one of his former teams. George is convinced that the way his side is playing they're a match for anyone - and he could he proved right on Wednesday.