Millwall’s Byron Webster has described his return to The Lions’ first-team as ‘a hurdle overcome’ after captaining Neil Harris’ side through to the Second Round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
The defender played the full match following an 11-month injury lay-off and netted a penalty in the following shootout, which Millwall won 3-1 with further successful strikes from Tom Elliott and Shane Ferguson, alongside two impressive saves from goalkeeper Ben Amos.
“It’s good [to be in the next round]. It’s another game, another strong-ish performance, and our first win of the season,” Webster says.
“Even though the gaffer’s made changes, the message remained the same – to go out there, put a performance in, and get the win.
“It was a different setup that they [Gillingham] played, so we did some work on it and watched videos. We knew we had to stay narrow and spring our attacks from a narrow position to get width from there, and I thought – especially in the first half – we got to grips with that and had a few chances.”
The 31-year-old showed a cool, experienced head to score his penalty, and has thanked the staff behind the scenes at the club who have worked with him to return to fitness and have the opportunity to play this week at The Den after his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“The year before last when we were in the Play-Offs, we practiced a few and I like to take one, but always seemed to be back of the queue! It was definitely nice to score the penalty in my first game back at The Den.
“It’s been a long time waiting to be back out here, working hard behind the scenes. I’ve been training for a long time, so it’s another hurdle we’ve overcome – another box we’ve ticked – from myself, the physios Paul [Tanner] and James [Murray] and the sports scientists Laurence [Bloom] and Chris [McConnell], who have all been grafting with me.
“The hard work mentally as such is over, but the hard work physically is what I still need to put in.”
Webster has highlighted the momentum and sense of competition that a third unbeaten match this season has given the squad, as they look ahead to Saturday’s return to Sky Bet Championship action against Derby County.
“[A Cup run] is important, but it’s like every game – if you’re not always playing in the starting XI for league games, it’s good to give the manager some thought.
“We’re all training hard and putting pressure on each other, and it’s only going to benefit the team that plays.
“Winning this game gives us momentum – we’re still unbeaten this season, so it’s important.”