Kevin's fitness battle

INJURY-plagued midfield ace Kevin
O’Callaghan will continue his fitness battle
tomorrow, when Millwall reserves take on Reading.

O'Callaghan was forced to miss the whole of
Millwall's preparations after picking up first
a stomach strain and then a hamstring injury

But the £80,000 summer signing from
Portsmouth came through last week's reserve
game with Watford unscathed, and has an
outside chance of being fit in time for
Saturday's clash with his old team Ipswich.


"Kevin has a reasonably good level of
general fitness but he has missed a lot of
work and it is too early to say whether he
will he ready for Saturday said manager
John Docherty.

The Doc is still waiting to field all his four
close season signings in the same side, but
he is reasonably happy with the Lions start
despite Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Bradford
City.

"We never really reached the standard we
set ourselves against Birmingham and
consistency is what it's all about," he said.

Millwall fans get a chance to rub shoulders with the
players when the Lions stage their Football League
Centenary Fun run on Sunday week

Most of Docherty's first team squad will he taking
part in the two and a half mile run which starts and
finishes at the Den. Team entries from firms, pubs,
clubs and schools are welcomed and there will also
he a special prize for the wackiest dressed runner.
The entry fee is £2 for adults or £1 for juveniles
under the age of 16, and entry/sponsorship forms
are available from the club or from the SLP.

All proceeds will go to local charities.

Call-Up For Kevin?

Kevin O’Callaghan is hoping to convince
Millwall manager John Docherty that he is
fit enough to make his Lions debut against
Ipswich tomorrow. 

O'Callaghan, who joined Ipswich from
Millwall for £250,000 in 1980, is desperate
to play against his old club after an injury-
plagued start to his second spell at the Den.

A stomach strain and a hamstring injury
forced him to miss the whole of Millwall's
pre-season preparations, but he has got two
reserve team games under his belt and is
anxious for a first team call-up.

"Kevin looked very good in training on
Thursday morning and I will have
to weigh the situation up carefully,"
explained, Docherty.

"The fact that we are playing against
Ipswich could give Kevin an extra lift, but
against that we played very well in our


last home match and it might not be right
to change things.”

"We have talked quite a bit about what
happened at Bradford and the importance
of getting back into the sort of spirit and
determination we showed in our last home
match against. Birmingham," added the Doc.

"It always takes time for new players to fit
into the side and we have picked up some
niggling injuries, but I am still reasonably
pleased with the way the things are going."

Striker Tony Cascarino will be anxious to
improve his tally of one goal in seven games
against Ipswich - one of the posse of clubs
who showed an interest in him before his
£220,000 move to Millwall during the
summer.

But Cascarino and Millwall could be
frustrated by a miserly defence that has so
far only conceded two goals in six Second
Division matches under new-manager
JohnDuncan

Cup tie all-ticket

THE away leg of Millwall's Littlewoods Cup tie
with First Division leaders Queens Park
Rangers on Wednesday, September 23, will be
an all ticket affair.

Loftus Road officials decided to impose ticket
restrictions after drastically reducing the size
of the visiting supporters enclosure during the,
summer

"It is not that they are expecting any trouble,
it is purely for the convenience and comfort
of our own supporters," stressed Millwall's
chief executive Graham Hortop.

Tickets for the attractive second round tie will
be available before and after tomorrow's clash
with Ipswich, or from  the Den during normal
office hours. The match is scheduled to kick
off at 7.45 p.m., aid Millwall have no plans to
make the return leg on Tuesday, October 6 all
ticket.

 Millwall v Ipswich

JOHN DOCHERTY is a bit anxious that his talented Millwall side are
becoming a little like the West Ham of old -brilliant one week, disappointing
the next. After thrashing Birmingham they flopped in the first half against
Bradford By the time they picked up in the second half, the game was
beyond them. Docherty, however, believes his players have learned their
lesson.

Verdict: Millwall to make up the ground they have lost.

DOC'S DELIGHT
MILLWALL (1) 2
Walker (31)
O'Callaghan (83 pen)
IPSWICH TOWN (0) 1
Brennan (52)
Att 6,356

 

John Docherty must he longing for the day
when he can pencil all four of his expensive
summer signings onto the some team sheet.

No sooner had Kevin O'Callaghan declared
himself fit to face his old club, than defender
Steve Wood limped out of the limped out of
the reckoning with a hamstring injury.

And the Lions' preparations were disrupted
still further when George Lawrence was
struck down with a stomach infection and
advised not to play by the club's doctor.

Small wonder then that "the Doc" could
scarcely conceal his delight after watching
his makeshift side make it three wins
out of three in front of their own supporters.

Unsung

"It wasn't exactly the ideal preparation
losing Steve and George, but somebody up
there must like me because thankfully Kevin
was ready just when we needed him most,"
said Docherty.

O'Callaghan's fairytale to the Den may have
grabbed all the Sunday paper headlines, but
Millwall's unsung heroes deserve the Lion's
share of the credit.

Danis "I'll play anywhere" Salman proved an
invaluable asset he is by slotting into an
unfamiliar centre halves role that it wasn’t
until the second half that Ipswich managed a
serious shot on Goal.

And David Byrne, who takes more than his fair
share of stick from the Den boo boys ran
himself into the ground after being drafted in
as a last-minute replacement for Lawrence.

Tony Cascarino sent one blistering shot over
the top from an improbable angle and had
another effort charged down as Millwall,
bubbling over with ideas dominated the
early exchanges.

Ipswich survived the onslaught for half an
hour but their resistance cracked when

O'Callaghan, displayed his dead ball expertise
with an inch perfect corner which goal hungry
centre half Alan Walker power-headed past
Jon Hallworth.

But things changed dramatically after the
break with the introduction of Neil Rimmer in
place of the ineffective Mich D'Avray

Salman was adjudged to have bundled Dalien
Atkinson off the ball in the 52nd minute after
an unfortunate mix-up with teenage full back
Sean Sparham had presented the Ipswich
striker with a rare opening.

Inept

And Salman's frustration at referee Alan
Seville's decision turned to despair when
Brennan powered a 20-yard free kick past
Horne and into the bottom left hand corner.

But Docherty has instilled plenty of spirit and
determination into his side and after Teddy
Sheringham had rattled the crossbar with a
superb sprawling header the stage was set
for O'Callaghan's late penalty heroics.

The livewire midfielder skipped past three
defenders and when Tony Humes ended his
progress with a cumbersome challenge the
only question mark was over who would take
their penalty.

Both Cascarino and Sheringham clearly
fancied their chances, but Docherty handed
the responsibility to O'Callaghan and the Eire
international gleefully crashed the ball into
the roof of the net.

"I am delighted for Kevin because he has
had a pretty miserable time of it," said
Docherty afterwards.

"I thought it was an excellent result and
an excellent performance. Terry Hurlock and
Les Briley were outstanding in midfield, Danis
Salman looked like Franz Beckenbauer at
times and what about my 18 full back.”

· Walker Tall: Alan accepts the acclaim

Ratings: Horne ***, Stevens ***, Sparham ****,
Hurlock *****, Walker ****, O'Callaghan ****,
Byrne ***, Briley ***, Sheringham ***,
Cascarino ***, Salman **** Booking: Stevens

Referee: Alan Seville Match Rating 4

 
King Kev
Millwall 2  Ipswich 1        By Kevin Nolan 

SORELY missing the services of the injured George Lawrence and Steve
Wood, reshuffled Millwall's challenge to Division Two's leaders was
spluttering badly with five minutes of this scrappy game left.

Comes the hour, comes the man. Former Lions' cub Kevin O'Callaghan
making a satisfactory Millwall Mark II debut after a series of frustrating
injuries produced precisely the skills which persuaded manager John
Docherty to bring him back to his roots.

His penetrating solo run pierced the heart of Ipswich's defence until
Humes crudely hacked him down ten yards from goal. O'Callaghan picked
himself up, dusted himself off and exacted revenge with a perfect penalty.

Players with close control running directly at defenders - it's sort of obvious
when you think about it. Make room Diego, Kev's back!

Puny

Earlier on another of O'Callaghan's abilities - dead-ball kicking - had
contributed to the Lions taking a deserved lead on the half-hour. His latest
murderous corner was power-headed home by Walker, despite Harbey's
acrobatical goalline efforts. At that point, Millwall threatened to run away
with it. With Walker easily handling the puny challenge of D'Avray and
Hurlock showing there's more to his midfield repertoire than ferocious
ball-winning, it was looking a doddle

That kind of superiority has to be turned into goals, of course, and though
Cascarino and Sheringham seemed able to turn the cumbersome Cranson
at will, a lack of ruthless finishing sent the visitors in for their half-time tea
still fancying their chances.

Rimmer replaced D'Avray and the talented but frustrating Dozzell was
pushed forward in the search for an equaliser. The move nearly paid
immediate dividends as Horne had to alertly leave his line to block
Dozzell's progress.

Ipswich came again and Salman needlessly - and obviously obstructed
Atkins. Punishment once again fitted the crime as Brennan struck
Zondervan's tapped free-kick low past Horne from 30 yards.

Millwall's concentration wavered alarmingly and only Walker's fine recovery
tackle denied Atkinson. Briley's reckless challenge on Brennan was less
acceptable and earned him booking by referee Abbott. His name joined that
of Stevens cautioned for a first half foul on Zondervan, though Mr Abbott's
displeasure may not have been unconnected with an earlier incident, when
the right back crashed the ball into his back to stress his disagreement
with decision.

Before hobbling off injured, Atkins name was also taken but this was never
a dirty game and fitting, somehow, that it was decided by a moment of
supreme skill.

With two difficult-looking away trips coming tip, O'Callaghan's late flourish
was invaluable in keeping Millwall in touch with the top. His relief was
obvious as he paid tribute to manager Docherty's patience during his injury
problems.

"He's been really nice about it telling me to keep my head up. He could
have got the hump over it,' admitted O'Callaghan.

Patience, they say, is its own reward Anything over and above is a bonus
which is probably how the Doc will regard O'Callaghan's highly promising,
second coming. Another prodigal Lion's returned to his den. Cue the Born
Free music!

Millwall: Horne, Stevens, Sparham, Hurlock, Walker, Salman, O'Callaghan,
Byrne, Briley, Sheringham, Cascarino. Subs not used: Morgan Carter

Ipswich: Hallworth, Stockwell, Harbey, Atkins (Woods 80 mins), Dozzell,
Cranson, Zondervan, Brennan, D'Avary (Rimmer 46 mins), Atkinson, Humes.

Referee: R Abbott Att: 6,356

King Kev KO's his old mates

Millwall 2 -1 Ipswich

Debut boy Kevin O’Callaghan returned to theDen to torment his old club Ipswich.

O'Callaghan, an £85,000 close season buyfrom Portsmouth grabbed one goal and made the other as Millwall roared to the thirdstraight home win.

He belted home an 82nd minute winner from the penalty spot after O'Callaghan himself hadbeen dragged down by Ipswich defender Tony Humes.

O'Callaghan, starting his second spell withMillwall also made the first goal after 31 minutes.

He swung in a corner and Alan Walker row unchallenged at the far post to send a rocketheader keeper Jon Hallworth.

But Ipswich levelled six minutes after theinterval with their first away goal of theseason.

Ian Atkins rolled a free kick to Mark Brennanwho drilled it in from 30 yards.

But the Lions kept plugging away O’Calllaghancoolly swept in the penalty to keep themamongst the early Division Two pace setters.

Ipswich boss John Duncan admitted: “I’ve got no complaints - from where I was sitting itcertainly looked like a penalty. We could have won the game in the second half, but we just didn’t compete in the first 45 mins.”

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