BY TOBY PORTER
Two former Charlton players will go head to head in a sold-out South London derby on Saturday – with one trying to end 23 years of hurt.
Addicks boss Lee Bowyer hit the opening goal the last time the Valley club beat Millwall, in 1996 – in a 2-0 victory in the second tier (then Division One).
But the SE7 side have struggled to overcome Millwall since dropping out of the Premier League – they have failed to beat the Lions in the duo’s last 10 meetings, drawing five and losing five.
Millwall keeper Bartosz Bialkowski denied after last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Reading that the players would feel any extra pressure in the derby.
He said: “We don’t feel pressure – we have been fantastic at home. We just need to transfer that form away from home as well. If we do that then we can compete against anyone and beat anyone.
“We have proved at home this year that if we do everything right then we are unplayable at times and we can beat anyone so it’s another good test for us.
“We just need to do everything we need to do from the first whistle.”
Team-mate Jayson Molumby said: “Every big game, we have answered at home this season. We will go into it full of confidence.
“You know our home form speaks for itself, so we will go into that all guns blazing.”
Rowett played only 13 times for the Addicks in two years because of a persistent knee problem which would eventually force him to drop from the top flight to the Conference to play with Burton.
He said: “I don’t think there’s [extra] pressure, every game in the Championship there’s pressure. We want to win every home game whether it’s Charlton or anyone else. I know it has an extra significance for the fans and we’ll turn up and try to play with a better overall performance than we did [Saturday] and certainly match what we did last week.”
Charlton defender Lewis Page, who has not played in 13 months, was due to make his return from injury during an under-23 match against Millwall yesterday afternoon.
But one ex-Lion, Addicks top scorer Lyle Taylor, looks unlikely to be ready in time.
The last time they beat Millwall, the Lions would end the campaign with relegation under Jimmy Nicholl.
By contrast, Alan Curbishley’s side spent much of the next 10 years in the top flight.
The Addicks suffered their fifth loss of the campaign with a 1-0 home defeat by Preston on Saturday.
Captain Jason Pearce said: “It’s really frustrating for us but we’ll have to dust ourselves down, put a good week’s training in and be ready to go to Millwall.”
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