Wright back at old club
JERMAINE Wright, after a one-match move to right-back, is set to return to midfield for this afternoon's visit to his old club Millwall.Wright deputised for Fabian Wilnis in defence against Derby County last weekend.
JERMAINE Wright, after a one-match move to right-back, is set to return to midfield for this afternoon's visit to his old club Millwall.
Wright deputised for Fabian Wilnis in defence against Derby County last weekend. The Dutchman missed the 2-1 win with a tight hamstring.
However, Wilnis will start against the Lions, allowing Wright to resume his midfield duties as Town bid to cement their position in the top four.
The return of Wilnis is one of two changes that manager Joe Royle is poised to make, for the trip to south London.
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Centre-half Richard Naylor is a definite non-starter, due to a problem with his knee that has affected his hamstring, and his place will be taken by Georges Santos. The Frenchman missed the Derby clash due to a one-match suspension.
Wright, who began his career as a trainee at Millwall, has fond memories of his last meeting with his old club. The 28-year-old bagged his only goal of the season with a wonder strike in the 4-1 home win on New Year's Day.
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"I always like playing against Millwall. It's where I began life as a footballer," recalled Wright yesterday. "I first went there, to the old Den, as a schoolboy. I was there from the age of 14 to 19, during which time we won the FA Youth Cup (beating Sheffield Wednesday in 1991).
"Whereas the likes of Ben Thatcher and Mark Kennedy went on to play for the first team, I didn't really get a chance, so it was in my best interests to move on.
"Of course I've been back to Millwall several times since then, at the new Den, and I want us to continue our recent good run at their expense this weekend," added Wright.
Greenwich-born Wright believes that this week's signing of Chris Bart-Williams, on a permanent contract, will give the club a huge lift over the coming weeks.
"It would have been deflating for the rest of the lads if Chris (Bart-Williams) had not signed and therefore left the club," continued Wright.
"We've had to play catch-up over the last three months, getting ourselves off the bottom and up the table. We're up there, and we don't want that to slip.
"I think that the lads would have felt a little let down if the club had not managed to sign Chris. He has been a big player for us. He's a great character in the dressing room and has a big presence on the pitch.
"He's a grafter, and every team needs a grafter. I think Chris has been a big help for the whole midfield.
"I didn't mind playing at right-back last week. I've played there before, including a few times under George Burley, but Fabian (Wilnis) is fit again and I'm looking forward to going back to my normal position," added Wright.
Manager Royle confirmed that Wilnis had shrugged off his hamstring problem.
"The team played well last week, but it has been a relief to have a more familiar back four to work with in training," said Royle.
"We will be going to Millwall to try and win the match. Millwall have had several injuries, but they are still getting some satisfactory results.
"They were my pre-season tips as outsiders for promotion," added Royle.
Millwall, who shared a goalless home draw with Norwich City last weekend, will be without five regulars.
Manager Dennis Wise will have to cope without the quintet of Belgian forward Bob Peeters (calf injury), winger Paul Ifill (hernia), striker Neil Harris (ankle problem), former Leeds and Coventry target man Noel Whelan (strained hamstring) and left-back Robbie Ryan (groin injury).
That means that Millwall's three joint scorers, Whelan, Harris and Ifill (four goals) will all be missing.
However, Australian defender Kevin Muscat will be available. His one-match suspension kicks in after today's clash, following his sending off against Norwich.