Shaun Williams reckons that Bolton Wanderers’ players will not let their club’s mounting financial problems affect them ahead of tomorrow’s pivotal clash with Millwall.
There were doubts that the Championship fixture would take place but Bolton council – who could have issued a prohibition notice – have been assured that the club will be able to meet its safety obligations.
Wanderers chairman Ken Anderson, in advanced takeover talks, also failed to pay February wages on time to staff and players. Goalkeeper Ben Amos is on loan with Millwall, who are paying a portion of his weekly salary.
But experienced Lions midfielder Williams is not expecting that to make Bolton compliant victims.
“I don’t think anyone will be downbeat about it,” he said. “They might not have got paid [on time] in February, but they get paid it – just a bit later. We’ve got Ben [Amos] on loan here, he’s in the same situation as them.
“People are probably uncertain of their future next season, so they’ll be looking to impress.
“They’ve [Bolton fans] had a few protests and that might bring the mood down of the players. But as jobs go, they have got to do their own job.”
A win at the Macron Stadium could see 20th-placed Millwall restore a four-point cushion over the bottom three.
But Williams does not feel that a third away victory of the campaign will kill off the survival hopes of Bolton – promoted along with the Lions in May 2017.
“I don’t think we’re looking at it that way,” said the Republic of Ireland international. “We’re just worrying about ourselves and picking up as many points as we can.
“It’s a massive game. They are down there as well, it’s a six-pointer. We’ll be looking to come out on top.”
Williams’ first-half header in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Norwich was his 20th goal for Millwall.
He has cleared up whether Shane Ferguson’s low near-post corner – flicked on by the boot of Steve Morison before he nodded home – was a training ground routine.
“I think Fergie shanked the corner,” explained Williams.
“In the set-up, Moro was to get across the first man and I was to go in behind him – whipped in to the front post where he had a chance to head in and I also had a chance to head it.
“So it was off the cuff.”
Williams was part of the Millwall side that lost their Championship status in April 2015 – Neil Harris in caretaker charge before taking the boss job on a full-time basis.
Williams missed the last few weeks of that campaign after breaking his foot.
“When the gaffer took over it was a difficult situation for him to be coming in,” said Williams. “He knows how we want to play now – his record since he’s been manager has been phenomenal. I can’t really jump on him now.
“The key thing as players is sticking together. I don’t think you can have any bickering, or anything like that. We have a good team spirit and hopefully that – along with dedication and hard work in games and training – will get us through.
“We’re not going to win every single game but we’ll do our utmost to win every one that we can. We’ve got to look at it that they are 11 cup finals.
“We’re not in an Ipswich position, but also we’ve not done well enough to push ourselves away from that pack – hopefully we can do that in the next couple of weeks.
“My message to the supporters is just stick with us. You know what you get from a Neil Harris team. Everyone has a feel for the club. We’re here to do a job. Millwall for me is my everything. I’ll be trying my hardest for them.”