‘Impossible to work out’ – Millwall boss Rowett makes admission ahead of Boro match

Millwall manager Gary Rowett reckons it is difficult to predict exactly what tactical approach new Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder will take in Saturday’s Championship match.

The Lions are the first team to head to Teesside since Wilder replaced Neil Warnock as manager at the start of the international break.

Wilder had major success with Sheffield United playing a three-man central defence. Millwall have regularly played a similar formation since Rowett was placed in charge more than two years ago.

But the Lions chief insisted it was “impossible to work out” the shape Boro are set to go with this weekend.

He added: “We’ve got an idea if Chris goes down a similar route to previous. And we know what that looks like. But Chris is going to go in there, assess what he needs to do and he’s an experienced manager. I wouldn’t be presumptuous and say he only has one way of playing. He certainly doesn’t.

“It’s trying to stay focused on what we need to do and what away games look like for us – some of the attributes you need to have away from home. You certainly have to have a more resilient way of doing things and certainly a more resilient way of playing. But you also have to look after the ball a lot better. While our shape against Huddersfield was pretty good most of the game we didn’t use the ball well enough to create enough attacks ourselves.

“You don’t get the luxury of having a little more ball, like you do at home sometimes. Some of those factors are going to be consistent despite Chris going in there and it being his first game. We had the same with Steve Cooper at Forest, where it has an impact – but it doesn’t change inexplicably what someone is going to be like or do.

“It’s still the same players. I’d expect a reaction from them. I’d expect the atmosphere to be electric. I’d expect Chris to be really positive with his first team. Therefore we have to do a lot of the things you regularly have to do to win games.

“I like Chris. I think he’ll do a really good job there. He’s a really good character. He’s one of those managers you share a beer with afterwards and enjoy chatting to. It will be an interesting game.”

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