Tom Bradshaw has described registering his first official Millwall goal following his lengthy injury spell as an “amazing experience” as The Lions advanced to the Second Round of the Carabao Cup with a 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion.
The Welsh international headed Neil Harris’ men level in the first half at The Hawthorns – a ground we were visiting for a second time in 72 hours, and he reflects on a positive night in terms of result and personal pride.
“It was definitely a really pleasing night, we saw on Saturday how difficult a place to come [West Brom] is,” Bradshaw said when speaking to millwallfc.co.uk.
“We knew what a challenge it was going to be, there were a lot of changes to both teams, but it was going to be a tough game. To come back from injury after so long and now finally score my first goal is an absolutely amazing experience.”
The 27-year-old highlights the importance of building crucial match sharpness, and outlines his relief at finally getting off the mark – a moment he has long awaited.
“Building match fitness has been a work in progress. To spend so long on the sidelines, you can only gain a certain amount of fitness from training – you need to be playing games.
“It does take some time to recover your match sharpness, but I feel like I’m about there now and I’m enjoying my football. I’m appreciating more than ever being out on the pitch after being out for so long.
“It was annoying not to get my first goal before I got injured, because then I was waiting all that time for it. Now it has come, I’m focused on hopefully scoring a few more.”
Bradshaw explains the difference in character around the camp at Calmont Road, stating that everyone has been in a positive mindset since the summer.
“I think the gaffer’s been big on character this year, and so far we’ve been able to claw back from behind twice already. To come here twice in quick succession and pick up a draw and a win just says everything about the group at the moment and where we’re at mentally.
“We’re all feeling positive, and we think we can win any game that we go into, so as a team we’re in a really good place.
“When you go on a run of bad results, it’s very easy to get into a cycle of panic, I guess. But this year, everyone seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet, and we’re thriving towards the same goal. That’s to perform week-in, week-out; be solid defensively and score as many goals as possible.”
With a demanding schedule ahead for Millwall including the Second Round visit to Oxford United in a fortnight’s time, Bradshaw is confident that the full squad will play a huge part in the coming weeks for the club.
“I think we’ve shown tonight that everyone’s ready to be called upon when their time comes, and hopefully the good performances will give the gaffer a few selection headaches,” he says.
“Everyone in the squad’s ready to go, and everyone’s performing, so it’s a great place to be.”