Vital game-time for Ollie’s men stars

Nouah Dicko in action against Millwall

Nouah Dicko in action against Millwall

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IAN Holloway has explained how he used the Millwall game to get his squad in perfect nick for the play-offs.

The boss made five changes, giving Kevin Phillips, Keith Southern, Ludovic Sylvestre, Nouha Dicko and Lomana LuaLua a chance to get some match sharpness ahead of the double tussle with Birmingham.

Holloway said: “I felt the performance mattered more than the result at Millwall.

“If we’d needed to win, I might have picked a different team but I needed my squad to get ready.

“I thought we looked a little out of sorts early on, but then when has that front four played together apart from on the training ground?

“I felt they needed a game and it gave me a chance to have a look at them.

“They’ve done well and it was a real tough match, so they now know what standard we need.

“Now I have some tough decisions to make to choose a team but I feel better for having given certain people a run-out. It was important they got that match under their belt.

“It gives them a much better opportunity of producing their best now if they are needed. They won’t be going cold into this Gladiator-type scenario.

“We want to get to Wembley, otherwise we will all feel pretty despondent.We know what we’ve got to do to do that.”

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Holloway was happy with his much-changed side at Millwall, though disappointed they conceded a late equaliser.

He added: “I felt that was a fairly decent performance coming to a place like Millwall and being in front until the last couple of minutes.

“We made a slow start and got one or two things wrong. Millwall were up for it and in good form, but after they took the lead I thought the way we came back was terrific.

“It was a great header from Evatt and I am just disappointed we didn’t see it through to a victory, but I suppose it was a great strike by their lad (Kane).

“Millwall have worked miracles in the last five or six games to get themselves out of a hole.

“Before Saturday they had won five on the bounce and that takes some doing. We hadn’t done that.

“So every credit to our lads. It shows I can trust whoever I put in and I think we are in very spirits.”