BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ben Amos dislocated the ring finger on his right hand on Monday – but there is no danger of that ruling him out of Millwall’s home game against Leeds United.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper made his Championship debut for the Lions in the 2-1 defeat to Swansea at the start of the month.
And Amos will push through any pain for the visit of Leeds United, setting the pace in the early weeks of the league campaign.
“It’s quite common with goalkeepers for the ball to hit you on the end of the finger and it can cause a dislocation,” explained the former Manchester United youngster, who is on a season-long loan from Bolton Wanderers.
“I put it back in on Monday. It is about being careful, pulling the joint back outwards and it kick of pops back in.
“It was sore on Tuesday but it is one where you just have to strap it up, get a bit of pain relief and get back out there.
“I’ve done that finger twice and probably the same two or three times on different fingers. I doubt you’ll find a goalkeeper who hasn’t done it before – especially with the way the ball moves nowadays.”
Amos came straight into the starting line-up during his loan stay at Charlton last season – making 50 appearances in total.
That figure is just three shy of how many games he has played for Bolton, who he joined permanently in July 2015 after an initial three-month stint in Lancashire.
Amos got his chance at Millwall when Jordan Archer was dropped for the visit of the Swans. Lions boss Neil Harris cited the Scottish international as an example of where “the mentality of the group is not good enough”.
“I had an inkling I might be starting the day before but I didn’t know for certain until the day of the game,” said Amos. “That’s how the manager likes to do things.
“I just approach every game preparing as if I’m playing and then I have to deal with the disappointment if I’m told otherwise.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I came here. I hoped to be thrown straight in but that wasn’t the case. You have to bide your time, prove yourself in training and the cup games.
“It is all about staying composed – not losing your marbles because you’re not playing. Everyone wants to play, don’t they?
“It was different at Charlton but I’m getting great training here. I’m happy to be in the team at the moment and want to stay there as long as I possibly can.
“I’m working again with Lee Turner [also his goalkeeping coach while at the Addicks] and I think if you asked any of the other goalkeepers here they will reinforce what I said about how he develops you.
“Every day is a test, that’s what you want when to come into training.”
Amos’ contract is up in the summer. A return to Bolton – where he has essentially been frozen out with three successive loan moves away – will not be a goer.
“I sort of make sure I don’t really think about it,” he said. “What will be, will be.
“As long as I do everything in my power to give the best representation of myself then it doesn’t really matter to me after that. If I do that then I’ll be in a good place, a good position.”
Millwall’s impressive home record took a slight dent as 10-man Swansea managed to pull off a 2-1 win at The Den just before the international break.
The Welsh side played 85 minutes of normal time with a numerical disadvantage but still became only the second team since November to have won at the Lions’ manor.
Leeds will be the perfect bounce-back fixture if Millwall can halt a run of three straight Championship reverses.
“Swansea was a really strange one because we had the ball for large parts of the game and I wasn’t called into any kind of action at all,” said Amos. “In the last 10 minutes they made a couple of substitutions and punished us on the breakaway. It was a bit of a suckerpunch.
“But since then we have had some really good training and the focus has been on Leeds, if I’m honest. Every day in training we have been working on something. Football is like that, you have got to put it to bed and you go again.”
Leeds always tend to be the Championship side who get the most TV dates – due to their huge support at the level – but Amos admits his interest in watching live football changes.
“I do and I don’t. I go through phases where I religiously watch football all the time and then I have a period where I don’t really watch it.
“Leeds have had a cracking start to the season but that means nothing come Saturday at The Den.
“I wasn’t aware of the rivalry between the two clubs but several people have told me about it. It’s a strange one.
“That doesn’t make a difference to me. It’s a game of football – 11 players versus 11 players. Especially this Millwall team, we go into every game giving everything physically and in terms of aggression. So it shouldn’t make any difference to the players whatsoever, other than the atmosphere.
“They have had good starts in other years and maybe tailed off. They’ll be hoping to go all the way with the start they’ve had but we’ve shown against some big teams that we can mix it with them. We took Middlesbrough all the way and made them look very average.
“We do the video analysis in a meeting a couple of days before the game – looking at their strengths and weaknesses. As a goalkeeper, I like to look at free-kicks and corners to see if they have any trends they lean towards. But after that it’s about being in the moment and taking things on its own merits.
“We shouldn’t fear anybody – especially at The Den.
The last time Millwall lost four league games in a row was in the 2016-17 campaign. They ended up winning the League One play-offs.
“It’s always important to get back to winning ways and stop that momentum,” said Amos. “I’m confident we’re always going to be in games.
“I can’t see us not having a chance of getting a result. You see some other teams concede a goal and look dead and buried, no chance of coming back.
“The Swansea game was the other way around. But if we go behind you always fancy us to back in the game, by hook or by crook. We’ll always get results that maybe we shouldn’t or even when we are not playing well.
“I fancy us to turn it around quite sharpish.”