Wednesday 21 February 2018

Lions' Den for wounded Villans

Simon Hart

Millwall captain Danny Shittu reckons that the New Den is the last place on earth where Aston Villa would want to be playing after their humiliating defeat by League Two Bradford and predicts Paul Lambert's men are in for a night of torrid abuse from home fans when they take the field for tonight's FA Cup fourth-round tie.

The giant central defender knows from personal experience what an unwelcoming place the New Den can be for visiting players. In between his two spells at the south London club, he returned to the ground as a Queens Park Rangers player in 2011 and was subjected to merciless booing throughout the match.

"They're on your back for the whole game. I can't think of a single moment in that game when I got the ball and didn't get abuse. It wasn't abuse in a bad way but just a load of boos."

Shittu, whom manager Kenny Jackett has singled out as the key to Millwall's prospects in the way he handles Villa striker Christian Benteke, is hoping the hostile atmosphere will affect a Villa team already short of confidence after their recent run of poor form.

"This is definitely the last place Villa would want to come to because these fans are definitely going to get into them," Shittu said.

"This is not the place you want to be after losing to Bradford. Don't get me wrong, I thought Bradford played really well to go through, but these fans are going to make the Villa players really feel it, and I'm sure the Villa fans are going to get it as well."

While Shittu's defensive abilities will be crucial, Millwall will also be hoping to use his height and power to exploit Villa's vulnerability against set pieces, which cost them so dearly against Bradford. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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