Having overcome injury setbacks, Lions midfielder Richard Chaplow was pleased to be back out on the field in the League Cup at The Den, despite losing to his old club.
The 29-year-old, who suffered first with an Achilles problem and then picked up a minor hamstring tear in pre-season, was one of nine changes rung by manager Ian Holloway after Saturday’s loss to Rotherham.
The young Millwall side put in a spirited display before eventually sinking 2-0 to a full-strength Southampton team.
Chaplow said: “First and foremost, we have lost the game and we’re obviously disappointed with that. It was two sloppy goals really and up until that first goal we were very much in the football match, so we’re disappointed with the way we conceded it.”
From a personal point of view, the former Saints man was pleased to play his first game of the season.
He said: “It felt good just to be out there.
“It’s been a while. From my point of view, I have trained frequently from the back end of last season and all the way through preseason so it was frustrating to pick up that little niggle before the (first league) game against Leeds.
“That’s football. It’s the way it’s gone for me at the minute.
“It’s great to be back out on the pitch and great to play against Southampton where I had so many great memories.”
He added: “I just enjoy playing when I’m out on the pitch.
“That’s where I want to be, that’s what I love doing and what I’ve been working towards for so long after that Achilles injury – and obviously there was that extra bit of spice playing against so many of my good friends.”
Chaplow played for the Saints when they were languishing mid-table in League One and helped them secure back-to-back promotions to the Premier League, and he was clearly well regarded by the south coast fans who gave him a warm reception.
Richard Chaplow in his Saints days
He said: “It was a special time to be involved. I’ll never forget it and it looks like they’ll never forget it, so it’s a nice bond that we’ve got.
“Now I want to emulate that at Millwall. Hopefully we can push on this season. It’s been a good start - it was a little bit disappointing at the weekend but we didn’t do ourselves any harm tonight with a changed 11 and a new system. It’s all to play for on Saturday.”
With the fast and furious nature of the Championship, Holloway decided to blood some youngsters against a Premier League outfit who did not rest their stars.
Experienced midfielder Chaplow was encouraged by what he saw.
He said: “At the end we finished with four young lads on the pitch, which is good to see and great for the future of the club.
“Jack (Powell) was very composed tonight, which is very much how he is.
“He’s a very laid back character and he’ll be one to watch for the future.”
He added: “We have all worked really hard since the gaffer’s come in and he is breeding that winning mentality."