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Millwall Verdict: Jackett’s magic keeps Lions fighting with the big boys

Millwall's manager Kenny Jackett (left) celebrates victory. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire Millwall's manager Kenny Jackett (left) celebrates victory. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

Monday, November 19, 2012
12:36 PM

Millwall have beaten Leeds, Derby, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield and Bolton in their 10-game unbeaten run and have picked up draws against Bristol City, Watford, Birmingham, Crystal Palace and Burnley.

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Millwall's goalscorer, Chris Wood (right) celebrates with James Henry (left) and Danny Shittu (centre) after the final whistle against Leeds United. Picture: Nigel French/PA WireMillwall's goalscorer, Chris Wood (right) celebrates with James Henry (left) and Danny Shittu (centre) after the final whistle against Leeds United. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

Which two are the odd ones out? The answer is Huddersfield and Bristol City – they are the only sides not to have been a Premier League club and the Terriers have a sizable budget after the £8million sale of Jordan Rhodes.

It’s fair to say that the Lions are punching above their weight, given that they have one of the smallest budgets in the division.

A quick glance at the Championship shows the scale of the task Kenny Jackett and his team face just to survive, let alone challenge for higher honours.

Of the 24 teams in the Championship, 75 per cent of them have mixed it with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League.

Millwall's Chris Wood (right) celebrates his goal against Leeds United with Alan Dunne (left). Picture: Nigel French/PA WireMillwall's Chris Wood (right) celebrates his goal against Leeds United with Alan Dunne (left). Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

Some, like Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday, have fallen upon hard times in recent years but that shouldn’t detract from Millwall’s achievement.

Kenny Jackett has worked miracles without the budgets that his rivals have. He’s brought in the likes of Adam Smith, Mark Beevers, and Chris Wood on loan.

While the Spurs youngster is still finding his feet the latter two have shone at The Den and Dave Jones must be kicking himself for letting Beevers go on loan to a side in the same division.

Despite claiming all the plaudits, Jackett is enjoying himself mixing it with the likes of Blackburn and Wolves – their next two fixtures.

Millwall's Mark Beevers (right) battles for the ball with Birmingham City's Nathan Redmond during 3-3 draw last month. Photo credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICSMillwall's Mark Beevers (right) battles for the ball with Birmingham City's Nathan Redmond during 3-3 draw last month. Photo credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

“It’s great to be in this league,” he said. “Going to Ewood Park and Molineux – they haven’t sold the names off have they?

“If you’re up here and competing then it’s great. It’s a very expensive division.

“We’re under no illusions to be working hard. It is hard earned in this division.”

The division is tight and Jackett, the Millwall team and their fans are only well aware that a winless run would plummet them down the table.

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