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Powell: Not for me to say how Charlton fans react to Millwall midfielder
Nicky Bailey celebrates putting Millwall in front against Blackpool on Tuesday. PICTURES BY EDMUND BOYDEN & KEITH GILLARD.
NICKY Bailey is sure to face a hostile reception from the stands when he returns to The Valley with Millwall this weekend but manager Chris Powell is reluctant to tell fans how they should react to the midfielder.
Bailey was certainly well regarded by supporters during his spell in SE7 between 2008 and 2010, scoring 25 goals in 89 appearances.
His final game saw him miss the crucial play-off penalty against Swindon, but after a three-year stint with Middlesbrough he returned to south-east London this summer with Charlton’s rivals Millwall.
He will be back in SE7 on Saturday for the first time in enemy colours but the Valley boss didn't want to be drawn on whether any hostility could end up inspiring the midfielder to up his game.
Powell said: “If I said to Charlton fans don’t boo him, do you think they are going to stop?
“He was here when I wasn’t here as a player.
“I know Nicky but not as a player day in, day out but I know he did a terrific job here as a player.
“He scored a lot of goals from midfield, which is a commodity all managers like, but he went on to Middlesbrough and is now with Millwall.
“I think our fans will just be looking to back us from the word go and they will be looking for us to respond and give them what they want.
“Whether they aim any barbs at Nicky, I don’t know.
“But I’m sure Nicky, knowing the player he is, will just get on with the game and he will be looking to his best for Millwall.”
Millwall arrive at The Valley at the end of a rollercoaster week.
Hammered 5-1 at The Den on Saturday by Derby and bottom of the Championship table without a win, they turned the form book on its head on Tuesday with a stunning 3-1 success over leaders Blackpool, a game which saw Bailey grab his first Millwall goal.
When asked if he would have preferred not to be taking on the Lions on the back of that midweek result, Powell replied: “It doesn’t matter because it shows what the Championship is about.
“I think everyone would have thought with Blackpool, and the form Blackpool were in and the form Millwall were in, Blackpool are going to win it.
“Millwall came out on top and deservedly so from what I’ve been told.
“You just can’t call it.
“After the defeat Millwall had on the Saturday, the last team I felt they would have wanted to face was Blackpool and they came away with a 3-1 victory.”
He added: “It is just the nature of this league, you think you can call it and you just can’t.
“It doesn’t matter to be honest with you, just saying Charlton v Millwall it takes care of itself.
“With regards to form, that goes out the window.
“Of course it is about who handles the atmosphere and who handles the occasion the best.”
Tuesday’s win over Blackpool lifted the pressure off under-fire Steve Lomas and his opposite number is backing the Lions boss to come good after assembling a useful looking squad in pre-season.
Powell said: “They’ve backed Steve and rightly so.
“They’ve backed their new manager after the Kenny Jackett era and it is still very early, that’s my argument.
“It is a very early part of the season.
“You do want your new squad and new players to get off to a good start, we are the same but we’ve had exactly the same start as we’ve had last year in our first six games.
“Millwall I’m sure will be looking to pick up and build on the result they got on Tuesday.”
The Charlton manager added: “You’ve got to remember Steve Lomas is looking to get his best XI out there.
“He is looking for the players he has brought in to step up to the mark and perform to the standards they know, because a lot of the players he has brought in are Championship players, they know the league.
“There is still a bit of time to go but of course one commodity we don’t have an abundance of as football managers is time.”
Charlton’s overall record against Millwall isn’t great and the last time the two sides met in March the Lions left SE7 with three points after a 2-0 victory.
“If I could turn back time I would,” said Powell.
“All I can affect now and do my best at, and my players, is to improve that record.
“I can’t say what has happened in the past, I’ve had only the experiences of the two games last year.
“They are huge games, games we want to do well in but why our record isn’t the best I don’t know.
“Can we improve that? Yes and that’s by doing our best in the two games coming up this season.
“History goes out the window, form goes out the window, it is about 12.15pm Saturday and what happens in the 90 plus minutes from then.”
Charlton will be boosted by the return of striker Yann Kermorgant but defender Chris Solly remains on the sidelines for now.
The manager said: “We don’t think it is long term, we think with the recuperation and the treatment he will get over the next week or two will do the trick but again that is not my domain.
“I’m governed by my medical staff and hopefully we will get him right as rain sooner rather than later.”
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