Nathan looks forward to tomorrow's 7.30pm kick-off
Manager Nathan Jones is looking forward to “another stern test” for his team in tomorrow night’s Checkatrade Trophy Southern Group H decider against Millwall.
The game at Kenilworth Road kicks off at the slightly earlier than usual time of 7.30pm, and with Neil Harris’ Lions having reached the Sky Bet League One play-offs last term and sitting comfortably in mid-table so far this season, Jones is anticipating another tough encounter.
“It’s a great test,” said Jones at his Ely Way Press call today. “Millwall are a real traditional club and it’ll be a very difficult game. They’ve started to find their feet a bit now after, not a difficult start, but an average start for them.
“After last year, they’d like to be there or thereabouts and I’m sure they’ll do very well under Chopper, so now they are starting to find their feet it’ll be a very stern test.
“We like testing ourselves. We enjoyed the test we had at Gillingham, we enjoyed the test we had from Aston Villa, Leeds, and then a different one from West Brom and then every week in League Two. Now it’s a different one again, so we are going to look forward to it.”
With both sides sitting joint top with the same amount of points, goal difference, goals scored and conceded having beaten Gillingham 2-1 and West Brom U21s 2-0, the winners will have home advantage in the second round when it becomes a knockout competition.
“There’s incentive anyway to win a football match – that’s all the incentive we need, everything else is secondary,” said Jones. “Yes, to top the group, then there is the home draw, but we want to continue our unbeaten run.
“We are nine unbeaten in all competitions and we want to continue that, and hopefully we can do that tomorrow.”
Jones has injury concerns over Jack Marriott, who missed Saturday’s FA Cup win at Exeter having suffered a knock to his ankle at Notts County in the last league match, and central defender Johnny Mullins, who pulled out in Devon after being caught on the foot by Cameron McGeehan in the warm-up.
Jones added: “There’ll be changes from Saturday, of course, because we’ve got a lot of games coming up and it’s an important time, so we’ll use the squad tomorrow.
“Whether we make the amount of changes we have is another thing, but what we will do is just freshen it up slightly.
“We are going to have to assess Jack and Johnny and see where they are in terms of tomorrow and Saturday, because they are two big players for us.
“Apart from that, we are OK. We have a few bumps and brusies and stiffness after the shift they put in, especially in the second half on Saturday, but that’s to be expected.”
Striker Craig Mackail-Smith could be set for more game time too, having stepped up his return from seven month out with a broken leg by playing the last 20 minutes plus time added on at St James Park.
Jones added: “Craig is very close to starting. Sooner or later he has to go through the barrier, whether that’s tomorrow or Saturday, or if he needs one more development game, we’ll have to see.”
*Tickets for the 7.30pm kick-off can be purchased from the Ticket Office, online by clicking here, or on the phone at 01582 416976.
Prices are £5 for adults and concessions, with Under-16s allowed free entry but pre-booking is required at the ticket office.
Home supporters can purchase tickets in The David Preece Stand, The Main Stand and Enclosure and the Home area of the Oak Road Stand.
U16 tickets need to be collected from the Ticket Office before the game.