Jem Karacan is confident that Millwall can soon find the ‘spark’ which can kick the side’s season on, and is hoping the turning point can arrive in Tuesday's Carabao Cup Third Round clash with Fulham.
The all-London cup tie at The Den sees Neil Harris’ men face off against the recently-promoted Premier League outfit, and local lad Karacan has emphasised the importance of the game and how it can then go on to benefit League form.
“We’re looking forward to the game. It’s always nice when the Cup comes around and there’s a chance to get to Wembley, and with a top team coming to The Den, we’ll do our best to try and get through to the next round,” the midfielder says.
“The Premier League is where everyone wants to be, [Fulham] had a great season last year and they’ve bought some top-quality players this season, so it will be a tough game – but it’s a chance for us to show how good we are against a top side.
“That little spark is all it takes to kick your season on.”
The last round of the competition – a late 3-2 win over Plymouth Argyle – saw Karacan return to the Millwall side a decade on from a loan spell at The Den as a teenager, and the 29-year-old is enjoying being back in the fold under Harris.
“It was good to be back again [against Plymouth]. I’ve been back a few times before to play against Millwall, and this time it was nice to get back onto the pitch to get some minutes under my belt. Without having a pre-season, it was nice to get thrown back into it, and hopefully I can get some more minutes this time around.”
“The [midfielders] have been doing great – Ryan Leonard has settled in really well, with Shaun Williams who is a top-quality player, and Ryan Tunnicliffe will be back soon. It’s all about pushing each other, competing for places and giving everything I’ve got on the training pitch every day, being there when I’m needed and helping the boys out there.
“I’ll look forward to the game – hopefully I can get out there, play well and be in the manager’s thoughts for pushing on.”
The former Turkey U21 captain has competed at the highest level during his career, and claims he can use his experience of The Championship to help the squad both on and off the pitch.
“The Championship is relentless, it’s tough and games can come at the rate of two or three a week. Everyone is going to be needed, and I’ll be there to support when I can.
“I feel like I’ve been around for quite a while now, with it being 10 years since I was here on loan. I’ve played in the Premier League and Champions League, been out in Turkey and played against different players in different leagues.
“So I’ve experienced a lot, being at the top of this league [with Reading] and at the bottom of it with Bolton, and no one wants to be in and around that battle.”
Karacan believes that the encouraging performances we have often seen from The Lions this season will soon turn into results, provided the squad are up for the fight.
“Things change so quickly in this league – one or two wins and you’re back in the middle of the table, and pushing outside the Play-Offs.
“The performances have been there, but unfortunately a couple of late goals have changed things.
“We need to keep fighting, keep pushing on and things can change very quickly.”