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Harris describes "buzz" as Lions prepare for Middlesbrough

Read from the manager ahead of Saturday's encounter...

27 April 2018

Millwall boss Neil Harris has urged his players to "step up" as The Lions chase a place in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs.

Millwall take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday evening (LIVE on Sky Sports, kick-off 5.30pm) in their penultimate game of the season and currently sit one place and two points outside the top six following Derby County's 3-1 win over Cardiff City on Tuesday night.

The Lions' 17-match unbeaten run came to an end last Friday at the hands of Fulham, but Harris' side will travel north without defeat in nine away League games, looking to close the gap on fifth-placed Boro to just goal difference with a win.

The manager stated that whilst his side created their own downfall in last Friday's loss, the "buzz" is still there ahead of Saturday's crunch trip.

"I can't wait, to be honest, to see how the team responds," he said. "We quickly got over a second half masterclass from Fulham, but I think we helped them.

"We created our own downfall a little bit, but being outplayed for one half of football over 18 games isn't bad. It's a shame it had to be the one live on Sky, but full credit to Fulham.

"We have to bounce back on Saturday. It's a great game to be involved in. The place is alight still, the boys are loving it. There's a buzz and they can't wait for it. I'm looking forward to seeing their response and I'm looking forward to seeing my players perform on the big stage again, in front of the Sky cameras and a big crowd against a very talented Middlesbrough side.

"Let's get it right - we're chasing a place in the Play-Offs to get into the Premier League. We've avoided talking about it for so long, but that is what we're doing. It's now time for players to step up and for big names to perform, for the squad to be at the levels they've performed at individually and collectively over the last four months.

"Middlesbrough are a good side and have some good players. We've got to be at our best and impose ourselves on the game."

With as many as seven teams still mathematically in with a shot at claiming the last two places in the top six, many twists and turns are expected between now and next Sunday's final round of fixtures.

The boss claimed that Tuesday's win for The Rams was "a blow," but also stated that it gives the club an opportunity to do what they do best - be the underdog.

"We'd like every team around us to get beat and we get into the Play-Offs - that's the ideal scenario for every manager. But that's not going to be the case. We came away from Derby on Tuesday night thinking 'that's a blow' because they'd gained points and gone above us, but we've been at our best in the last three years when we've been chasing. Now we're chasing again. That's our strength as a football club - being the underdog, coming from behind and ruffling feathers.

"A win will mean we go level on points with Middlesbrough and give ourselves a chance going into the last game. There's no better incentive than that, knowing we can claw them back. If results go our way, brilliant, if they don't, no problem."


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