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The Lions have lost their last three games and have won just once in their last seven in the league. Their home form has been woeful since the turn of the year, winning just two Championship games at The Den since Christmas – and one of those was a narrow victory over bottom of the table Bristol City on New Year’s Day.Millwall have found goals hard to come by this season. Chris Wood remains their leading scorer with 11 despite signing for Leicester in the January transfer window. Their other main goal threat in the first half of the campaign, Darius Henderson, also departed in January for Nottingham Forest. Rob Hulse was brought in on loan to bolster Kenny Jackett’s attacking options, but he failed to register a league goal before heading back to parent club QPR. That leaves the goal scoring burden firmly on the shoulders of Irishman Andy Keogh – and he is currently on a barren run of 14 goalless league games.A win for Millwall tonight would secure their Championship status for another season.
Has the FA Cup run been a distraction?
I’m not convinced that it has. A few of the players have suggested that it might have been, but I don’t really accept that as a valid excuse.
A couple of extra games does not account for Millwall’s form in the second half of the season. The problems run much deeper than that.
Jackett told NewsAtDen: “If we go into the last day needing something we will do what’s needed, but it’s very, very important that we do get the job done on Tuesday.
“Palace are not on a great run but with two games left they’re in a play-off place, which constitutes a good season. The way they’ve handled the Wilfried Zaha situation has been excellent really.
“To be able to sell him and then keep him for the rest of the season and potentially finish off what is a crucial opportunity for them was a fantastic bit of business.
“He has obviously got a lot going for him as does Glenn Murray, who is another key player for them. Is it a good time to be playing them? Well, first off we need to play better ourselves.
“Our own performance, as much as analysing the opposition, is of paramount importance. I won’t disregard the other side’s strengths but at this level everyone has their strengths.
“We have to focus on ourselves. I don’t think there will be many changes from the Forest game – we have Danny Shittu and Shane Lowry back from suspension but otherwise it’ll be the same group.”
Palace lined up in a very attacking formation, with suitably offensive personnel. A 4-2-3-1 formation saw Kwesi Appiah lead the line, but with support from Ibra Sekajja on the right and Jason Banton on the left. Reise Allassani found himself playing a central position just behind the striker, a position referred to as “in the hole”. Shielding the back four were regular performer Hiram Boateng, and also trialist Dean Parrett.
This was no ordinary trialist. With shades of John Bostock about him, the 21 year old blonde central midfielder is currently under contract with Tottenham, having signed for a fee potentially rising to £2m, from QPR aged just 15. However, he is out of contract at the end of the season so free to speak to potential new employers. Any indication that his attitude was poor, as alluded to by Swindon Town when he was sent back early from a loan, were dispelled by his exemplary level of effort and his dogged defensive work. Eager to run with the ball, the midfielder impressed by taking the game to Bolton, and his passing was a joy to behold, with both short and long balls reaching their target consistently. Most of Palace’s attacks came through Parrett, who linked up very well with Banton on the wing. His defensive work was not as clear or impressive, nevertheless, it was there.
Jason Banton played like a man with something to prove. High on confidence from his recent loan at Plymouth, he frequently looked to test Jay Lynch from distance, and was extremely unfortunate not to score. His pace caused problems, but it was his shooting accuracy which was most threatening for Bolton, who somehow kept him at bay.
He started out at Queens Park Rangers’ Academy before the north London club came calling in 2007, and he went on to make his first-team debut in the UEFA Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk in February 2009.
Parrett has also spent time on loan at five different clubs so far in his early career, most notably at Charlton Athletic in 2011 and most recently at Swindon Town.
A Palace source told Advertiser Sport: “Dean has come into train with us since last Thursday after his release from Tottenham”.
“He’s come in on trial and he played well last night. We’re keen to have a longer look at him in the next couple of reserve games.”