Blackwell Fears Rough And Tumble May Cost Whites
United boss Kevin Blackwell fears a physical encounter against Millwall could end up with some
of his star players picking up a suspension.
Leeds have no less than four players on four yellow cards, Clarke Carlisle, Simon Walton, Sean
Gregan and Danny Pugh, and if they pick up one more booking a one match ban would come into effect - at just the wrong time
as they prepare to face a busy Christmas period.
Millwall are well known for their physical approach, and despite the threat of getting someone
suspended, Blackwell says Leeds cannot afford to concede any ground.
"You have to match them physically because they are strong and aggressive as a team," he said.
"You only have to look at the manager and people like Kevin Muscat in there to realise it's
not a game for the feint hearted. They'll trample all over you if you don't stand up to them.
"I have four players on four bookings and if you could pick any game you didn't want to play
at this moment then this is it. It's the way it goes for Leeds United, if there's something you don't want to happen,
you can guarantee it's around the corner.
"That's how it goes now for us, we have to get stuck in and that sometimes means we pick up
a few bookings but hopefully we can steer clear. We need to because I haven't got the squad at the moment to cope with
The Lions are having a successful season, coming just after last year's remarkable run to the
FA Cup final which they eventually lost to Manchester United, and Blackwell believes they have invested the profits from that
run wisely, if you pardon the pun.
"Millwall had a great cup run last year and they've spent the money well from that. They went
out and got Danny Dichio, Scott Dobie, and now Barry Hayles and they've got a good side there. They've then also already
got the likes of Ward, Livermore and Marshall and that makes them a very experienced side.
"You then look at our side with the likes of Danny Pugh, Frazer Richardson, Matthew Kilgallon,
and Simon Walton and we have no real experience.
"Millwall's is so full of experience to the extent that even Dennis Wise hasn't been able to
get in the team - and I know that hurt him."
Former Leeds midfielder Jody Morris returns to Elland Road for the first time on Sunday, and
Blackwell revealed he was sad to see the former Chelsea man leave the club so early last season.
The 25-year-old arrived on a free transfer in the summer of 2003 from Stamford Bridge, but
he failed to command a regular first team place and after being accused of rape, of which no charges were ever brought against
him, his contract with the club was cancelled by mutual consent the following March.
Blackwell believes he would have had a role to play later that season that could have helped
the club stay up.
"Because of what went on he didn't really have a choice but to make a fresh start," said
"Which was sad at the time because the accusations were unfounded and never went to court,
and what happened later at the club was we lost the likes of Eirik Bakke in midfield and ended up playing Lucas Radebe there.
"That's ok for 45 minutes but you can't go through a quarter of the season at that level without
a recognised midfield and I think it hurt us not having someone like Jody around who would have done a job there."