Millwall defender Jake Cooper: We’re ready for it to go to 90th minute at Wigan to secure Championship status

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Jake Cooper says Millwall’s players are ready for their Championship survival battle to go right to the wire.

The Lions are two points clear of the bottom three after Wednesday night’s 0-0 drab draw with QPR.

And next up is tomorrow’s trip to Sheffield United, third in the table. 

Millwall have six matches to go and finish with a potentially pivotal away day at Wigan, still in danger themselves, on May 5. 

Lions centre-back Cooper said: “The manager has said that if it takes until the 90th minute at Wigan then that’s what it has to be. 

“We’ll battle every minute for the remaining part of the season. When we get safe is down to how we perform and play in the coming weeks. We want to be safe as soon as possible. But if it takes until then, then it takes until then.”

The Blades have lost just one of their last 13 league matches.

Cooper said: “We’ll go there full of confidence – we’ve got three clean sheets in four in the league – and a great [FA Cup] game against Brighton thrown in with that. It’s a good test for us.

Jake Cooper 

“Yeah, of course [we expect to be tested defensively]. We’re coming up against some of the best strikers in the division.”

Cooper admitted the Lions could have played long into Wednesday night without breaking down QPR.

“They came with an obvious game plan – they made it difficult for us and very scrappy. It was a battle and we had to weather the storm at times. We did that well and got a couple of chances ourselves.

“It was one of those games where we could have played for 300 minutes and there wouldn’t have been a goal in it. 

“It was a tough game and one we’re happy with a clean sheet. A point gained from our perspective.”

Was it because of pressure, both teams needing the points, or a style thing that led to them cancelling each other out?

“Probably a bit of tentativeness, that we’re not wanting to go all guns blazing, and try and protect our own goal – stay tight at the back. And their thoughts were probably the same. It probably led to that scrappy game like we’ve had here many times against teams similar to this. The Rotherham game was very similar. QPR came here and made it very difficult for us.

“We didn’t expect to just come here, turn up like we did on Saturday and produce a performance and a result. We need to mix up our style of play according to the teams we play against. I thought we did that today but were just lacking that bit of quality in the final third.”  

Alex Pearce, who has come in to partner Cooper in the middle of the backline, was man of the match.

“He’s a very good leader and has obviously played a lot of games at the highest level in this country,” said Cooper. “I made my debut way back at Reading with Pearcey. We know a lot about each other and certainly have been able to make it more solid in the last few weeks. It’s given us a base. Keeping clean sheets is massive for us.”