29 April 2009
Millwall striker Gary Alexander is delighted that his red card has been overturned by the FA - giving him the green light to face former club Leyton Orient at the Den for the first time.
The Kennington hit-man's appeal to the FA was upheld on Tuesday afternoon, after he was sent off for a dubious handball in the first half of the 4-2 defeat at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
And despite automatic promotion now being out of reach for the Lions, who are certain of a playoff spot, the club’s leading goal-scorer insists that nobody will be taking their foot off the gas in the last two games of the season
What went wrong in that first half in Bristol?
We conceded some poor goals in the run-up to the penalty. Though if you looked at them again there were possibly a few fouls and with a different referee on another night - we might have got one or two decisions.
But it was sloppy nevertheless. We didn't do enough at the corners and we were punished.
Did the sending off come at the worst possible time?
It was not a deliberate handball and he has sent me off for it. That makes it 4-1 and puts the game beyond doubt. The lads went out and showed some tremendous fighting spirit and went out to win the second half with ten men. Who knows, it could have been different.
What do you remember of the incident - it was all rather quick...
I remember Rickie getting up for the ball and him heading it. I dropped in behind Fordey to about three, four yards off the line to try to block it - which is my job when I'm on the line.
It hit me on the upper chest and top of the arm, but it's not deliberate handball. Whether the ref changes his mind after he has seen it or not, I don't know, but he told the gaffer he would take a look and be honest and admit it was a mistake on his part.
What do you make of Rickie Lambert saying he did not think it was a sending off?
Obviously Rickie Lambert wouldn't have wanted to get sent off and might expect a fellow striker and professional to do the same thing.
He wants to score goals and he has got the penalty for it and put it away, which makes him happy. But if it wasn't a penalty, he could have gone another way and would have been claiming that it was. But it is really nice of him to declare what he thinks and come out and say it. A thanks to Rickie for putting that in the paper, which might well have helped.
What will it mean to run out against your former club at the Den?
Obviously it will be nice to play against Orient again, and this time at the Den. I have not played against them at home yet. The last time I played between these two at the Den, it was for Orient. I would like to play for Millwall against them. It didn't happen last year through injury and this year I was close to being suspended. It has been a bit of a nightmare week.
Will the players ease off the gas before the playoff push?
We will not let the season peter out, no way. We have got to win our games, as it is vitally important where we finish in the playoff spots. To get the second leg at home we have to finish third or fourth and that is in our hands and up to us.With Leeds close behind, we are not going to let it slip away. It was a tall order to go up automatically, having let the gap get so big but we gave it our best.
The lads want to win both the games, to go into the playoffs finishing strong and full of confidence.
Which of the other four teams in playoff contention do you fancy?
The opposition doesn't matter. We don't fear anyone in this league. We have proved we can beat anyone in this league. We beat Leicester away, Peterborough at home and we beat Leeds, who then beat us. Everyone can beat everyone.
It's all on the day. If you drop your game by five per cent, you will get beaten, no matter who you play. The lads won’t fear anyone and I'm sure we can get the right result - both home and away.
What role do the fans have for the rest of the campaign?
The fans have been brilliant all season. Monday night was rocking with noise against Peterborough. Now we know we are in the playoffs, I'm sure they will travel in their thousands, no matter who we get, and I've no doubt they will fill the Den and make some serious noise.
They can be the twelfth man for us, like they were against Peterborough and make a big difference. Having played against Millwall at the Den, as an away player you just don't want to be there.
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