Lions boss brands returning midfield ace 'phenomenal'

News Shopper: Nicky Bailey celebrates scoring against Blackpool earlier this season. Picture by Edmund Boyden. Nicky Bailey celebrates scoring against Blackpool earlier this season. Picture by Edmund Boyden.

Lions supremo Ian Holloway has hailed the recent form of Nicky Bailey as ‘phenomenal’.

The midfielder’s return to full fitness after missing the previous 12 matches with a slipped disc has coincided with a seven-game unbeaten run, Millwall’s best form of the season.

Bailey’s efforts have not gone unnoticed and he is in the running to win the Championship player of the month award for April, with Holloway echoing the Football League selectors’ sentiment.

“He's been absolute phenomenal,” the Den chief explained.

“His organisational skills, his talking, his reading of defensive situations and structure, his passing, his leadership skills have all been phenomenal.

“I think the team needed it and I think he was the biggest part of the 6-0 training game the other week.

“I thought ‘Good God, he's not fit yet’.

“But when I saw him organise that team and beat the side I had picked 6-0, I had to put him in it - and in that game he played centre half, which is quite unbelievable.”

Holloway added: “Dunney was right-back and I moved him into centre-half because those two were the best on the park.

“I put Dunney at right centre-half and moved Bailey into that Spanish number six role and the two of them have been phenomenal, they’ve helped the back four.

“Carlos Edwards was bought just as a winger and I put him to right-back and he's settled us down.

“Young Ryan Fredericks will be a brilliant player in the future but at the moment that, experienced old head has calmed things down little bit.

“It all just slotted into place and with Beevers in there, who was getting his first chance for me.

“I kept saying to him ‘come on, come on, come on’ and with Dunney being so short I needed a big one just in case, so Beevers was the natural fit.

“But Bailey’s been absolutely sensational.”

Bailey has been a constant outlet for Millwall since his return and the boss feels the side are playing much better with the midfielder back in the side during such a crucial period of the season.

Holloway explained: “We're becoming a better passing team.

“If you encourage them, they want the ball.

“I don't think there’s anybody on my team who wants the ball more than Bailey.

“No matter that the score is, no matter what the situation is, there is nobody in my team who believes that he can deal with a ball like Bailey.

“That has spread throughout the whole team because of the person he is, what he's lived through and because of how much he bloody well cares.

“I think he's been absolutely terrific.”

Follow @NewsShopperSprt on Twitter for live updates from Millwall v Bournemouth this Saturday (12.15pm ko).

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