Bennett could feature against West Brom

By Daniel Marsh

Gary Rowett says this weekend’s trip to West Brom will be an “interesting test” for Millwall after a disappointing start to the season.

The Lions finally notched up their first win of the season against in a nervy 2-1 victory over Blackpool before the international break.

It proved to be fifth time lucky for Rowett’s men after two draws and two defeats from their four previous league games.

And Rowett admitted it hasn’t been the sort of start that he or anyone else wanted.

But he insisted that the Lions could be confident heading to the Hawthorns after tasting that winning feeling for the first time this season last time out.

“We were disappointed with the first four games,” assessed the Lions boss.

“We certainly weren’t celebrating [the performance against Blackpool] but it was nice to go into the international break off the back of a result rather than not.

“We’ve already played Fulham, Cardiff, QPR and Blackburn. It’s been a tough start.

“No disrespect to Blackpool, but in the majority of our games we’ve played a lot of teams that you’d expect to be up there at the end of the season.

“Apart from the Fulham match I don’t think there’s been much in any of the games, so West Brom will be an interesting test for us.

“I think we go there really confident.

“We know we can cause them problems.

“They play with lots of intensity and they’re a very fit side.

“They’re strong and physical and score a lot of set-pieces so we have to be ready for them and we have to be able to deal with that.

“But we’re a physical team ourselves so I’d expect us to be able to go there and match that physicality.

“But as usual, it’s the little moments in games that you have to make go your own way. We didn’t do that against Cardiff – we have to do that against West Brom.”

Valerian Ismael has hit the ground running after being appointed as the man to guide West Brom back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

The ex-Crystal Palace player made a name for himself last year by inspiring unfancied Barnsley to a play-off spot after a remarkable run of form.

The Baggies are currently joint-top of the Championship after an unbeaten start under Ismael.

“He’s been really impressive,” said the Lions manager.

“They [Barnsley] paid out transfer fees for young players, but predominantly they still worked well above their budget.

“I think they certainly played to a level that I’d say a lot of people maybe didn’t expect, so you have to give [Ismael] great credit.

“He found a system and a style of play that suited the players and allowed them to maximise what they had.

“He’s gone to West Brom and has stuck with a very similar system with players that are more capable of changing certain games.

“I think any manager will be looking to find a system that suits certain players and suits how they want to play.

“So far the results have been excellent.”

Millwall could be boosted by the return of attacking duo Mason Bennett and Tom Bradshaw for the trip to the Midlands.

Both have been out of contention, but Rowett stopped short of ruling the pair out.

Deadline day loan arrival Sheyi Ojo is also expected to play some part for the Lions.

“Mase has been back in training and Bradders has been back too,” said Rowett.

“We’ve got one or two with niggles who might not make it.

“We’ll assess how they feel. They’re certainly not going to be match fit for the whole game.

“However we do decide to use those players, if we do, we’re certainly not talking about 90 minute games for them.

“We’ll assess things over the next few days and see where we are.”



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