Millwall captain Tony Craig says he must take his chance to force himself back into Neil Harris’ first-team plans.

Craig has been playing second fiddle to left-back James Meredith in the Championship.

But he started his first league game of the season in the 1-0 defeat to Burton on Saturday.

The defender replaced Jake Cooper, who was serving a one-match ban, and partnered Shaun Hutchinson at the heart of the defence.

Craig, 32, said: “From a personal point of view, it was very good to start the game.

“It took me 10 minutes to get going again but after that I settled in well.

“You take the rough with the smooth. I’ve got to be patient and when my chance comes, I’ve got to take it - and hopefully I’ll give the gaffer a decision to make.”

Despite Craig's solid display, Cooper is likely to come back into the side against Sunderland after the international break.

The Brewers barely threatened Millwall’s goal until Jed Wallace was sent off in the second-half. The winger caught Jon Flanagan late, but it wasn’t a red card offence - something Burton boss Nigel Clough admitted.

Marvin Sordell netted the 70th-minute winner after the ball fell kindly to him in the box.

Craig added: “I presumed it was going to be a yellow card. I walked back and the ref gave a red card so he made the decision and you have to stick by that.

“We had momentum going forward with a couple of opportunities.

“[But the sending off] gave them an incentive and they capitalised on that within 10 minutes and from then we were chasing the game.”

The result leaves Millwall just five points above the drop zone.

Harris criticised his attacking players after Aiden O’Brien, Wallace and Lee Gregory spurned glorious chances.

But Craig is confident the Lions will show more of a ruthless edge in front of goal soon.

He said: “We had a few opportunities, unfortunately we didn't capitalise on any.

“But we've got a good bunch of lads here. They’re working to improve their game and once one [goal] goes in, more will follow.

“It’s going to be a long two weeks for ourselves. We’ve just got to work hard and we can’t wait for the game against Sunderland.

“We’ve had some highs and lows and that’s football for us. We knew what was coming at us in the Championship this season and it’s a great experience for everyone.”