Into the Lions’ Den

At the double: Danny Haynes celebrates scoring in the South Yorkshire derby
At the double: Danny Haynes celebrates scoring in the South Yorkshire derby
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BARNSLEY boss Mark Robins believes his side face a “boisterous” and “intimidating” atmosphere at Millwall tonight.

The Reds will be looking to avoid getting mauled by the Lions on a ground which Robins remembers as a “difficult place to play”. He told The Star: “A lot of the players won’t have experienced anything like it, it can be an intimidating ground. Millwall is a good club and the supporters are very passionate about their team.

“Whenever I played there it was a boisterous and very partisan atmosphere, we’re going to have to be on our mettle. But we’ve got to earn the right to play our football. We know it’s going to be a difficult game, but we’re ready for the test.”

Two goals from new boy Danny Haynes were just the tonic midweek as the Reds won at Doncaster Rovers. But there’s been little rest for the Reds who face their second game in four days as they attempt to break back into the top half of the Championship table. Tuesday’s win saw Robins’ side climb four places to 13th - and a fourth away win of the campaign would see them leapfrog their hosts and into 10th in the table.

“It was a very good performance from us at Doncaster” added Robins. “But the one thing you know about this Millwall side is that they all work their socks off for each other. Kenny Jackett has done a great job there and they’ve done well this season. They’ve had a decent run.”

Robins is right to be weary with last season’s League One promotion winners sitting in 10th, having lost just three of their 13 home league games.

The Reds had a recuperation session yesterday and, in a change to their usual schedule, were booked to travel down to London on the train today.

“It’s something I’d like to do a lot more,” revealed Robins. “We’ll be coming back by coach, but this is quite unusual circumstances because it’s a Friday night games and I want the players fully rested. The team spirit is good. The players tend to watch DVDs or go on their i-Pads, anything to relax them before the match.”

And having picked up four points from their last two games, it’s little wonder Robins is trying to keep his squad fresh for what he terms a “testing” couple of weeks ahead with a busy programme facing them. Centre-back Stephen Foster has been ruled out with a shin gash which required him to have seven stitches after the club’s draw with Swansea City last Saturday.

But apart from Foster and long-term injuries to left-backs Jay McEveley and Luke Potter, Robins has a full strength squad at his disposal. If the Reds are victorious against the Lions it will be the first time they’ve beaten them away since September 1995.