Aiden O’Brien not ruling out a rip-roaring Millwall run in second half of Championship season

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Aiden O’Brien is not ruling Millwall out of another storming run in the second half of a Championship season.

The Lions made it three wins on the spin as they beat Ipswich Town 3-2 on New Year’s Day – ending a 13-game wait for an away Championship win.

Millwall had to wait until January 20 to record a three-point return on the road – a riproaring 4-3 success at Leeds United – but chained together a 17-match unbeaten run to power into the play-off mix.

While O’Brien is not about to start talking up a similar amazing rise in the 2018-19 campaign, he is confident the Lions can continue their climb away from the bottom three.

He said: “We’ve had three wins on the trot now. Anything is possible – it’s football. You wouldn’t have thought we would do it last year and we did. Everyone wrote us off then and they are still writing us off.

“We’re never going to give up. The manager and the fans know that. We’ll go right to the end – whatever the possible outcome is. Hopefully it is a positive one.

“It’s still early but we’re heading in the right direction. We’re six points clear of the bottom three now. We’ve got to keep tugging away as a team – each person chipping in with goals, assists and being solid at the back.

“Hopefully we can have a glass of whatever you want to have a glass of at the end of the season when we stay up.”

Millwall were missing Lee Gregory, Shaun Hutchinson, Tom Bradshaw and Shaun Williams at Portman Road.

But despite the absence of the experienced quartet they still managed a long overdue away success.

But O’Brien did not feel their form on the road had become a mental block – or would be a release for Neil Harris’ squad. 

“We just needed the win,” he said. I don’t think it affected us about how long we had waited for this.

“It was a tough game. Just because they [Ipswich] are rock bottom and fighting against relegation doesn’t mean they aren’t going to give us a right test. They did that.

“Luckily we came out on top because it would’ve been a bit of a curveball if we had lost it. Winning at home to Forest [last Saturday] and then losing at Ipswich would have been a tough one to take. We got there in the end and we made it happen.”

Millwall were badly off the pace in the opening 45 minutes in East Anglia and trailed to Jack Lankester’s second-minute opener. But they scored three times in 16 second-half minutes.

Town substitute Kayden Jackson ensured a nervy finish with an excellently-taken strike.

“It wasn’t the prettiest of games,” said O’Brien. “We weren’t the best – quite scrappy – but at the end of the day we got the points we needed. That’s nine points from Christmas, which is an unbelievable period. 

“We were second to most balls in the first half and it just wasn’t going our way. They scored after two minutes and in any game that sort of kills your mentality and momentum.

“You’ve got to pick yourself up and get back going again, which we did. 

“The manager changed the shape at half-time and put [Steve] Morison on – we went 4-3-3, pressed them up high and got the three goals we needed. I’m buzzing.

“I was absolutely blowing in the last 10 to 15 minutes – it was my first 90 in a little while. 

“It was a great strike [by Jackson] but we were like ‘this ain’t happening again – stick together and we ain’t getting a draw after being 3-1 up’. I think we’re back as a team now.” 

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