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All focus right now on Emirates FA Cup, says Cooper

Defender speaks ahead of Wimbledon trip

15 February 2019

Jake Cooper has highlighted Millwall’s concentration on the Emirates FA Cup as The Lions’ trip to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday beckons.

Neil Harris’ men along with Wally Downes’ Dons have the huge incentive of a place in the last eight of the competition, and the defender says the team must divert attention temporarily away from League action.

“The gaffer has told us that all focus right now is on the Cup,” Cooper claims.

“We need to think away from the League for a few days, and look towards Wimbledon – it would be massive for this club to be able to reach the Quarter-Finals again.”

The 24-year-old anticipates a tough physical challenge against the League One outfit, and says Millwall must “impose ourselves” on the hosts in south-west London.

“We’re fully expecting a tough game which will be a big physical battle, and we have to compete with a good Wimbledon team.

“It’s important that we’re on it, because the opportunity for a Quarter-Final place is huge for them as well.

“We need to go there and impose ourselves, to hopefully do enough to get through to the next round.”

Part of the side which reached the Quarter-Final stage in 2017 having claimed three Premier League scalps en route, Cooper points out the pedigree of Millwall in the competition and how success this year can give a welcome confidence boost to the squad.

“The manager has touched on how the club has been able to manage the League and the Cup at the same time in recent years – especially when we got promoted in 2017 and also had that Cup run.

“And back when the manager was a player, the club also had the great Cup run and reached the Final.

“It’s good for the club and we can take confidence from playing well in these key games.”

The weekend could be an opportunity, fitness-dependent, for Tom Elliott to return to face his former club from whom Harris signed him two years ago, and Cooper explains how much the team miss the impact of the big striker.

“It’s been difficult for us missing Tom, so hopefully he can be fit for the weekend.

“We’re hoping he can make a big impact for us again, as he was before his unfortunate shoulder injury.”

Going into the contest, Millwall have not scored and have conceded just one across the last three games, last netting through Murray Wallace as The Lions dramatically eliminated Everton in a pulsating Fourth Round tie at The Den.

Cooper is not deterred by the short drought, and says the team are expecting the goals to arrive.

“I don’t think it’s a great worry at the moment in front of goal,”

“We always create chances and we’re keeping goals out at the other end, so we feel we’re definitely due a few goals now.”

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