30 April 2009
Millwall skipper Paul Robinson has returned to first team training and will be on the bus to Carlisle for the last league game of the season - just in time for the all-important playoffs.
The outstanding central defender has been out with a broken foot since January 31 and will be a welcome addition to the squad, though the club captain is not expecting to walk straight back into the team. Robbo told the 'News': "I trained on Monday and Tuesday and it has felt fine. I am really pleased to be back and involved with training with the boys on a day-to-day basis.
"They have done fantastically well while I have been out and I do not expect to walk straight back into the team. I will have to fight for a place, and if the gaffer needs me - it would be great to be involved at Carlisle."
The 27-year-old, who was player of the year last season, admitted there was a point where he thought his playoff hopes were over as the metatarsal took its time to heal.
"There was a bit of fear that I wouldn't be back in time," he said. "It has been a frustrating time for me and I have had to be patient. The gaffer has been very supportive of me and allowed us to take our time for the bone to heal - and we are now going to see the benefit."
Robbo laughed off claims he would be forced to wrestle the captain's armband from his deputy Tony Craig and added: "We will cross that bridge when we come to it. He has worn it well and I'm not going to start throwing my weight around to get it back."
Manager Kenny Jackett said of his defensive rock’s return: "Paul has done very well this week. I was pleasantly surprised as a manager to have him back on Monday morning and his performances in training have been very good.
"We will see how Thursday and Friday go, but I would be very surprised if he is not on the bus to Carlisle.
"I think his return will be a big help. It is a big boost for the players for him to be around and also for him to be involved - is great for his confidence."
The Lions boss said he would be doing Saturday's opponents no favours at Brunton Park, as Carlisle will be relegated with anything less than a win.
He insisted: "We go up to Carlisle wanting to win. I know it is a difficult situation for them. They are in a relegation fight and need the points.
"You could think of Carlisle, but there is also Northampton and Brighton down there. We are looking after Millwall, that's all I'm about. I've got no allegiance to anybody down there and neither have the players."
Jackett insists his players must maintain their form into the three potential playoff games in May.
He said: "We are concentrating on our playoff hopes. Our plans are to finish as high up the league as we can.
There are advantages that come with finishing third or fourth - mostly the home advantage for the second leg in the semi-final playoff.
"But we must also stay committed, to keep playing hard and to give a good account of ourselves in every game that we play.
"It is hard for teams to turn on and off their form like a tap and we must maintain our performances."
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