Gary Rowett: It would have been lovely to have had both Zian Flemming and Jed Wallace in my Millwall squad
Millwall manager Gary Rowett has admitted it would have been “lovely” to have had Zian Flemming and Jed Wallace in his team this season.
The Lions paid a club record £1.7million fee for Amsterdam-born attacker Flemming, 24, in the summer.
The Championship side had made contract offers to Wallace but he opted to run down his deal and join West Bromwich Albion on a free.
The two clubs go head to head on Saturday in a pivotal match at The Hawthorns.
“It’s ironic that Jed has left us and probably been one of, if not their, standout player of the season,” Rowett told the South London Press. “He has been fantastic.
“People have sort of compared Zian and Jed. Maybe I spoke about Zian’s numbers being better – but that was never a comparison. It was just a fact. Overall it would’ve been lovely to see Jed and Zian in the same team.
“I’ve got a lot of admiration for Jed as a player. What he has done going there has given him a new lease of life. He’s certainly not one we’ll have to scout and do too much work on, because we know what he’s all about.”
Wallace received plenty of abuse on his return to The Den earlier this season. And his decision to celebrate assisting for their goal only ramped up the hostility.
Millwall have around 2,000 fans travelling to the West Midlands for the match. And Wallace, a star man so often during his Lions career, is sure to be a target.
“He won’t mind that, Jed,” said Rowett. “He is an emotional player and he plays on that – he loves the game. He’s passionate about it.
“Sometimes when you leave a club it is hard. What do you do? Never celebrate? You’ve got to take him for what he is, he’s trying to win the game for his club.
“I’m sure he’ll get a bit of stick but he’ll be glad they are at home, that’s for sure.”
West Brom are five points behind Millwall but have a match in hand.
Carlos Corberan has transformed their home form, 10 wins in an 11-game unbeaten run, that has given them hope of making the top six.
“He has done a terrific job,” said Rowett. “You have to assess their results. They’ve had a few managers before that haven’t been able to quite seem to get West Brom going. There was a lot of external noise about where they were and whether they could challenge – because they have got a lot of quality in the group.
“If you look at his impact, they have a clear way of playing. They play very much on the front foot and have different patterns, but quite specific patterns. They are a really well-coached outfit. You could see that from his Huddersfield team and you can see it with his West Brom team.
“Their home form has been far better than their away form. You’ve got that flip side to a team but us going there makes it a little tougher and more of a challenge.”
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