Lions chief backing Maierhofer to fire Millwall to safety

Lions chief backing Maierhofer to fire Millwall to safety

Lions chief backing Maierhofer to fire Millwall to safety

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Ian Holloway hopes new giant striker Stefan Maierhofer can help Millwall find their goal scoring form and avoid relegation from the Championship.

A 0-0 draw against Charlton at The Den on Saturday meant Holloway’s side have now scored just once in the last five games and did nothing to ease their relegation fears.

But the Millwall boss has his fingers crossed the arrival of the 31-year-old 6ft7in Austrian, who signed last week on a short-term deal, will lead to more chances for his team in front of goal.

Holloway said: “The big man - we have got to learn how to use him well enough. I have got to get him a bit fitter but he can cause all sorts of things.

“I think he has given the lads a lot of belief and that we will be able to get a different type of chance.”

Maierhofer is no stranger to the English game having previously had spells at Wolves and Bristol City, joining Millwall late last week as a free agent having left German side FC Cologne in the summer.

Holloway said: “At this time of the year you don’t normally get anyone with a brilliant goal-scoring record that nobody wants.

“At the minute, my cake doesn’t taste right.

“We need different ingredients and he is going to unlock all sorts of doors.”

The Millwall boss continued: “Steve Morison is not a number nine.

“He has played with Grant Holt and when him and Simeon Jackson played with Grant Holt (at Norwich) they had a lot of success.

“At Blackpool I had four strikers who could win headers.

“Hopefully we will be a different proposition now and we can get some goals from set plays. I think we are much more solid than we have been.

“Games are getting tight now and we also need to score an ugly goal.

“I’m not saying Stefan is ugly - he is quite a good-looking chap - but he is big enough to knock things down and get my other strikers scoring as well.”

Holloway also praised the impact of 17-year-old winger Fred Onyedinma, who started on the left side of midfield and caused Charlton’s defence a number of problems.

“He has got everything,” the Lions chief said.

“Until he has played another 99 games he isn’t really a pro yet.

“I had no qualms about playing him and i thought the lads were great. I thought he handed the game well and the crowd loved him.

“He has got all sorts of abilities and he is a box of tricks.

“I believe in a lot of the young lads we have got at this club and if I have got to use them then that’s what I will do.”

Having just played Charlton in the south-east London derby, Millwall travel to Leeds on Saturday three points clear of the relegation zone.

But Holloway thinks his team have started to turn a corner, saying: “As long as I see the bits and pieces that I saw on Saturday, I’m encouraged.

“I want to make a bigger impact and I will in the long-term. “Short-term, it is not rolling yet but we have got to keep going.

“I have seen some massive differences in that dressing room with the way people are and the way they are communicating with each other.

“It is their responsibility to play for this badge and I think they are starting to.

“I’m trying to lead these troops in a way that I am proud of and put my name on the team.”

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