|Division Two: Bradford City Away|
|COME BACK KEVIN|
Kevin O'Callaghan will pull on a Millwall shirt for the first time this afternoon - and that's good news for injury plagued Lions manager John Docherty.|
O'Callaghan, an £80,000 signing from Portsmouth, was forced to sit out all Millwall's pre-season preparations after picking up first a stomach strain and then a hamstring injury.
Butthe 24-year-old midfielder resumed training at the end of last week and gets his firstworkout when Millwall Reserves take on Watford at the Den.
Kevin has done very well during training, but he has missed a lot of work and early to say how long it will be before I can consider him for the first team," said Docherty.|
It has certainly been frustrating start for O'Callaghan who kicked off his career as an apprentice at the Den and was part of Millwall’s FA Youth Cup winning side before joining Ipswich for £250,000.
"I was really excited about coming back to Millwall, so picking up an injury on the first day of pre-season
training was very disappointing he said.|
"It means I've had to miss all the pre-season work, in fact I haven't been able to do any serious training since the end of last season when I played for Eire against Brazil.
Nicky Coleman and Michael Marks, Millwall’s other long-term injury victim are also to play again but skipper Alan Mcleary and midfielder Dave Mehmet are still some way from full fitness.
|Lions Go For Goals|
by Rob Bowden|
Goal hungry Millwall hope to build on exciting start to season at Bradford tomorrow.
The Lions ' impressive 3-1 victory over Birmingham in midweek moved them into fourth place in the Second Division at the head of a pack of clubs on 7 points.
Manager John Docherty is expected to stick with the side that smashed Birmingham's unbeaten record in such convincing style, although full back Nicky Coleman could come back into the reckoning.
Coleman, who has been plagued by a hamstring injury, turned out for Millwall's reserves against Watford in midweek, and is close to full fitness.|
That match also marked Kevin O'Callaghan's first appearance in a Millwall shirt, since his arrival from Portsmouth in the summer for £80,000.
Millwall won 1-0 with a goal from Michael Marks and Docherty said, “Kevin did very well although he was very tired and sore at the end and we will have to wait and see whether there is any reaction.”
|MILLWALL CLEAN UP ACT|
Millwall Football Club is on course to become the sporting Yuppies favourite haunt, writes Tony Roche.|
To those fans who dreaded a trip to the South London club because of its association with hooliganism, this may seem inconceivable. But the men who run Millwall are determined to change its image and attract a new clientele.
Traditionally the home of London's dockers, The Den has undergone a massive facelift and the club is working flat out to become an integral part of the London Docklands Development.
Chairman Reg Burr explained: "We used to attract dock workers but they've gone; the whole working community has gone. Now we attract people from outside the area, Kent, Surrey and parts of London. Yet we have 650,000 people living within a quarter-of-a-mile of the ground.
The problem is that very few of them are football fans. But we are closest club to the new dockland development area and I can see a time when we will be what Chelsea and Fulham were to London football in the 1950s and 60s, the club where the young, upwardly mobile fraternity want to be seen.
"We have worked very hard to clean this up place, It has been a formidable taskbecause you cannot undo 40 years of neglect in one go. But we have quality and experience at the helm in manager John Docherty and his colleague, Frank McLintock".
Millwall's chief executive Graham Hortop (right), said the club has spent more than £300,000 on ground safety and increasing the capacity from 16,000 to 19,000.|
He said "We know the docklands is the coming area in London and in London and we are determined to play our part in that community. We were sponsored by the London Docklands Development Corporation last season and were negotiating a similar deal now.
We’ve also agreed a sponsorship deal with the council, worth £70,000 a year over four years.
"We want our fans to be aware of what's been done, be proud of the Club and its ambition."
It's all very well changing the image, but success on the field is vital, and Hortop stresses the £650,000 the club has spent on players like Kevin O'Callaghan, Steve Wood, George Lawrence and striker Tony Cascarino.
Hortop is both realistic and ambitious about the future. He said: "Our job of moving Millwall into a new era isn't finished yet. But we've made a very strong start."
IT was a case of too little, too late for John Docherty's new-look Millwall side at Bradford on Saturday.|
The Lions didn't ready start playing until they were two goals down and after Terry Hurlock had given them a glimmer of hope it looked as thorough they might just escape with a point.
But Ron Futcher shattered those hopes with his second goal a minute from the end and Millwall were left bemoaning a couple of missed chances and a penalty appeal that was waved aside.
"We were lethargic at the start, but I thought we caused them quite a lot of problems in the second half," said Docherty, who tipped, the Yorkshire club as promotion "dark horses" before the start of the season.
"We should have had a penalty when Danis Salman was fouled, but we are not going to cry about that - it just seems as though we can't take our chances as well away from home."|
Ian Palin left Millwall facing an uphill struggle when he put Bradford in front after only 12 minutes, but solid work by Steve Wood, Alan Walker, Sean Sparham and Brian Horne kept the Lions in with a shout. Hurlock turned in another powerhouse display in midfield, but Tony Cascarino had trouble escaping the attentions of Gavin Oliver and Teddy Sheringham had one of those afternoons when nothing went right.
The Millwall striker was unlucky with one spectacular overhead kick which hit the post,
but Millwall found themselves further behind in the 53rd minute when Futcher beat Horne fromthe penalty spot after he
had been upended by Keith Stevens.|
Hurlock powered through two challenge to give Millwall a glimmer of hope in the 65th minute and there were certainly some anxious moments for Bradford as the Lions at last roared into life Teddy Sheringham missed a couple of half chances before Futcher put the outcome beyond doubt - knocking home a low Mark Ellis cross.
"The players are still bedding in," explained Docherty, "but we never really managed to reach the sort of standard we set against Birmingham.”
RATINGS: Horne ****, Stevens ***, Sparham ****, Hurlock *****, Walker ****, Wood ***, Lawrence ***, Briley **, Sheringham **, Cascarino ***, Salman ***, Subs: Morgan, Byrne
Match rating: 4
|Bradford City 3 Millwall 1|
AGGRESSIVE and exciting play saw a dejected Millwall team regain its self respect in a deadly battle against Bradford City.|
Let down by a weak first-half defence, something sparked in the Lions heart after the break and the London side slowly clawed their way back.
Teddy Sheringham's overhead kick from a Keith Stevens throw hit the. post and Tony Cascarino's shot from the rebound was deflected for a corner.
Two minutes later, in the 63rd minute Terry Hurlock collected the ball from Sheringham, powered his way through two would be tacklers and cracked in a scorching 12-yarder.
Bradford were on their way to victory as early as the 11th minute when Leigh Palin flicked one past Brian Horne. A penalty sent them further ahead in the 53rd and City's third goal, two minutes from time, was a masterpiece of combined effort before Ron Futcher fired home five yards.
Bradford 3 Millwall 1|
YOUNG full-back Keith Stevens is a promising find, but he has a lot to learn.
And the experienced Ron Futcher made him pay for his lack of know-how with a vital breakthrough early in the second half.
Millwall trailed to an early score by Palin, but fighting back strongly looking set for an equaliser.
Then Futcher struck. He robbed Stevens as the youngster hesitated over a clearance and set off solo.
Futcher passed two other defenders when Stevens sliding in desperately sent him toppling. A penalty, and Futcher calmly scored to leave Millwall with too much to do to avoid defeat.
Still Futcher had not finished. Although Hurlock scored after Sheringham had hit a post, City clinched it near the end with a third goal. The scorer? Futcher of course.
ONE WHO WAS THERE|
Millwall never seemed to have any luck on long journeys up north. I traveled with the Away travel club on the only coach they laid on. It was fifty seat coach with about 20 people on it. Certainly at this stage of the season, it was never gonna be a huge turn out, but the three hundred or so up there was a respectable turn out. It was my first visit to Valley Parade, having gone to Odsal stadium a couple of seasons ago.
I was impressed with the new stands but laughed at the micky mouse arrangement of employing an ex-professional goalkeeper to patrol up and down the roof of the low stand to our right to try and catch the ball before it fell to road far below the stand. However he was very good and caught a lot of balls. Surely a net would be better.
The first goal was credited to Palin, but it went in off Salman's knee after he tried to close him down on the edge of the six yard box.