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"We know how important this match is to our supporters," says Chopper

21 December 2016

Lions boss labels Charlton Athletic clash the 'perfect opportunity'

Tonight's clash with Charlton Athletic marks Neil Harris' maiden South London derby since taking over as Millwall boss, but unlike the majority of his players, he knows exactly what to expect. 

"I have played in these games and the atmosphere is absolutely incredible," Harris told

"League form and positions in the table go out the window for this one. Everyone goes up a gear because both sides know how important the match is to their supporters.

"Even in the same houses you have Charlton fans and Millwall fans, people you sit next to at work and people you travel with on the train are all divided when it comes to the South London derby."

The rivalry had been put on hold for 12 months while The Addicks and Lions slogged it out in different divisions, but Charlton's relegation to League One has made tonight's fixture one of the most eagerly anticipated of the season.

"We will attack the game with passion, pride and commitment. My players have to be wholehearted but they also have to be sensible and not let the occasion get the better of them," added Chopper.

"They have a new manager and are a team in transition. They have been up an down in form a bit like ourselves, but we know they are a dangerous side with some good players."

Both sides hope to bolstered by the return of key players, with The Lions nearing full-strength for the first time this season.

Centre-back Byron Webster is the biggest concern for the manager, whilst striker Steve Morison and defender Shaun Hutchinson are both in contention having returned from the fold last weekend following injury lay-offs. 

"I would say Byron is 50/50 at the moment and obviously Steve has been out for a period of time so we will monitor him. He played 45 minutes against Scunthorpe and got through it well so he will be itching to get involved in any capacity," said Harris.

"Shaun Hutchinson is another one who got came through the Scunthorpe game after some time off with injury. We have some decisions to make but hopefully we have a fully-fit squad and the question mark will only be over Byron Webster."

Meanwhile, Charlton defender Harry Lennon may return from a groin injury at The Den, but the game will come too soon for goalkeeper Declan Rudd and forward Lee Novak.

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