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Steve Lomas has got Milwall Lions roaring again


FIghting chance: Steve Lomas has turned things round at Millwall after a shaky start to the season

FIghting chance: Steve Lomas has turned things round at Millwall after a shaky start to the season

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FIghting chance: Steve Lomas has turned things round at Millwall after a shaky start to the season

Two weeks ago some Millwall fans were calling for the head of manager Steve Lomas. They had just watched their team humbled 5-1 at home to Derby County leaving the Lions with no wins from their opening six Championship games.

The fact that Lomas had been a favourite at Millwall's bitter rivals West Ham during his playing days was not helping the former Northern Ireland skipper either.

Millwall is a hostile place at the best of times, so when things are going wrong it can get decidedly nasty.

Lomas stood firm, backed his managerial ability, instilled self-belief in his players and to his credit has started turning around what appeared a lost cause.

Millwall have won their last three league games; 3-1 at home to then Championship leaders Blackpool, 1-0 at neighbours Charlton and at the weekend 2-0 against Leeds at the New Den moving them from bottom spot to 16th place in the table.

The Millwall fans savoured the victory over Leeds, so much so that some home fans started to sing "There's only one Stevie Lomas."

The 39-year-old, whose side travel to Birmingham City tonight seeking a fourth consecutive success, knows there is still much work to do but believes his team are now on the right path.

"To get three wins in any league, not just the Championship, is very tough," said Lomas, previously manager of St Johnstone.

"We've got a chance now to make it a really good week. It will be tough at Birmingham because it is never an easy place to go but we'll enter the match in good heart.

"Sometimes our lads under-rate themselves, I think they are good players and I believe in them.

"If I thought they couldn't pass and play I'd just put two up front and I'd lump it, but we are playing 4-3-3 and it is now working for us.

"There is also a togetherness between the lads to go that extra mile which you need in the Championship. If you don't have people working hard as a team, you get found out. We demand passionate football."

Lomas is getting that from his players at present and cleverly he is tapping into the energy of the Millwall fans.

He says: "One thing the players must understand is that win, lose or draw, the Millwall crowd will have you all day long providing they see each member of the team giving their all.

"That is the minimum requirement and the standard we all have to live up to.

"Early on this season we were all hurting as a group, but talk is cheap. You have to do it out on the pitch and the last few performances have been full of pride, honesty, endeavour and quality."

While Lomas and Millwall climb the Championship table, his former boss at Upton Park, Harry Redknapp, continues to lead the way with QPR. They don't play tonight which gives Burnley the opportunity to move top if they win at Doncaster Rovers. Should Burnley slip up, a three goal victory for Leicester at Yeovil would see them hit the front.

Northern Ireland's Chris Baird is happy to be playing again and after excelling for Reading in their 2-0 win over Birmingham on Saturday will be keen to help his side collect another three points at bottom club Barnsley.

Belfast Telegraph