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Leonard credits squad game ahead of Owls test

Read from the midfielder...

16 August 2019

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Ryan Leonard described Millwall's 2-1 Carabao Cup First Round win over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night as "a massive achievement" - and now wants to carry on the good form as The Lions welcome table-topping Sheffield Wednesday to The Den in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

The midfielder, who has made 44 appearances for Millwall since his arrival for a club-record fee, scoring two goals, appeared as a late substitute in the opening-day 1-0 victory over Preston North End, before going on to play two lots of 90 minutes in The Hawthorns' double-header this past week.

Speaking on the midweek success, in which Tom Bradshaw and Aiden O'Brien found the net, Leonard told of a "brilliant" performance in the Black Country - and credited the whole squad, after eight changes were made from last Saturday's 1-1 draw.

"It was a really good evening," he said. "We made quite a few changes, so the gaffer gave more of the squad a game, and I think everybody was brilliant.

"It's not always easy to get the fluidity in the team when that happens, but our performance, with and without the ball, was brilliant. We gave them a game and got the result we deserved.

"I think that's the biggest thing we've seen in the season so far. The squad that Neil has built this year is brilliant. To make eight changes and go up to West Brom, who are probably one of the favourites in the League, and get a result was a massive achievement.

"That's a big onus on what we want to do this year - it's not just about the starting XI, or the 12-13 players that get on the pitch, it's about 18-20 players being always ready and pushing the lads that are starting."

The ability to change personnel has allowed manager Neil Harris to mix things up with regards to formations, but whether it's 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 or something else, Leonard believes individual quality is more important - and looked forward to heading into Saturday's visit of The Owls "full of confidence", as The Lions looked to maintain their start to the season.

"At the end of the day, formations only take you so far, it is down to the individual players to perform. I don't think formations make too much of a difference. The main thing is to be playing games for everyone to be performing. We've played a few different formations so far this season - if we can continue that, we'll be in for a successful season.

"It's going to be another tough game in a great atmosphere - I think they're bringing a few fans down. We're unbeaten after our two League games as well, two tough games, and whilst Sheffield Wednesday will come down here full of confidence, so are we. It's going to be a great game to watch for the neutral, and hopefully we can get the result we need.

"The home form is going to be big this year, if we can make ourselves hard to beat and win games at The Den then we're going to do well."

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