Millwall defender determined to make Den a fortress again
ALAN Dunne admits Millwall need to improve their home form this season after being beaten nine times at their own place last year.
Traditionally playing at The Den has always been a major advantage for the Lions but in 2011/12 it proved to be anything but as Burnley, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Watford, Middlesbrough, Reading, Southampton and Leeds all left south east London with maximum points.
Despite this, Millwall ended the campaign on a high with five wins and a draw in the final month and defender Dunne is hoping it will be the case of picking up where they left off as opposed to how they started 12 months ago.
He said: “We were very unlucky last year early on, we were 2-0 up at Reading and in the Peterborough game and drew them both 2-2.
“The plan is to pick up where we left off at the end of last season but there are going to be ups and downs, we know that.
“Our home form wasn’t great last year and we have to try to get that back to where it was the previous year.
“It is a tough league and we know every game is going to be a tough game.
“If we can pick up where we left off last year then great, but if it takes us six or seven games to get going and then go into a run like that then so be it.”
Despite some poor results at home, Dunne feels Millwall didn’t get the rub of the green in many of the games they failed to win at The Den.
He added: “I think we were playing well, it was just individual errors.
“In the games we played well but we just weren’t picking up results.
“The year before that we always seemed to win those games whereas last season we were drawing or losing them.
“I don’t think it was down to any one thing but we have to work harder and get the rewards.
“First off we’ve got to improve on last year.
“We’ve got some new players and we want to be challenging in the Championship, that’s our aim.”
Recently relegated Blackburn have been spending heavily over the summer in a bid to bounce straight back to the top flight and Dunne expects them, as well as fellow former Premier League sides Wolves and Bolton, to head the race for automatic promotion.
“The three teams who came down will be challenging for the title,” he said.
“Teams like Leicester have put money into it and Brighton will be up there.
“There is a lot of money being spent in the division and the teams who come up from League One usually have a good first year as a Championship club.
“We are also all looking forward to the local derby games with Charlton and Palace.
“They are games we want to win to give the supporters the derby bragging rights.”
And Millwall certainly won’t be lacking for fitness by the time the Championship season kicks off at home to Blackpool on August 18, according to Dunne.
He said: “We were told to come back a lot earlier than we expected to come back.
“We came back on June 22, which is a lot earlier than any other team has come back, but we’d had seven weeks off, which is more than enough time.
“It was good to be back.
“We went to the army camp for four days for a bit of fitness work and then we had the three games in Ireland and the match at Crawley.
“It hasn’t been as tough as previous years but we’ve had more time.
“The first four days at the army camp was excruciating but it wasn’t the same thing all of the time, there was good team bonding and we all enjoyed it.
“Ireland was great with the training facilities so it has all been good so far.”
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