Rochdale vs Millwall - Tony Craig relishing chance to play against Leicester's best



Posted Saturday, February 18, 2017 by PA

Millwall captain Tony Craig is looking forward to playing against the current Premier League champions when Leicester come to the Den in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The 31-year-old defender is on his fourth spell at the club after coming through the youth ranks at the London club and has featured in every game in the competition so far.

Leicester's squad includes last season's PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, and Craig is looking forward to playing against "one of the best players" in the country.

He said: "It is a great challenge, they have a great squad, a great team and we are looking forward to them coming to the Den.

"It is a great challenge for me personally, whether Mahrez plays or whoever plays.

"I would love to play against Mahrez, he's one of the best players right now, it would be good to see who comes out on top and see how it goes.

"If he plays then fantastic, to play against a player of that calibre would be brilliant."

Millwall have already beaten two Premier League opponents in the FA Cup this season after accounting for Bournemouth and Watford, who both made a host of changes for the fixtures.

Craig believes that the victories were a result of Millwall's positive displays, rather than the top-flight teams underestimating them.

He said: "I didn't feel disrespected in any way. They have a squad and they certainly paid a lot of money for those players we played against in those two games.

"I don't think they underestimated us in any way.

"I think we had a really good account for ourselves, if you look back they were two very strong performances from ourselves as well.

"We just need to concentrate on ourselves, we have a strategy we will use on Saturday and hopefully that could work."

Midfielder Calum Butcher is available for the tie having trained this week and manager Neil Harris has confirmed he is available for the squad.

Ben Thompson (hamstring) and Lee Gregory will be late decisions and Harris admits it is 50/50 for the pair but is confident if they miss out at the weekend they will be available for Tuesday.

The Lions could make a couple of changes from the midweek win over Port Vale with a number of unnamed players suffering from bruises and knocks.

Meanwhile, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri believes the Premier League champions are the underdogs heading into the tie.

Ranieri's side sit 33 places above the Sky Bet League One Lions, who are unbeaten in their last 12 games, but the Foxes - 17th in the table - have lost their last five league games and failed to score in the top flight in their last six games.

And the Italian, whose second-string side squeezed past Derby 3-1 after extra-time in a fourth-round replay, is prepared to risk seeing the season lurch to a new low by making wholesale changes.

"I make a lot of changes," he said. "All my team is new and there will be 10 changes again. Millwall have beaten two Premier League teams. We know this and we are underdogs. If they beat Bournemouth and Watford, they are above us.

"Our target is the Premier League - that is it. Of course we play in the FA Cup and Champions League and we want to do our best, but our aim is to be safe at the end. The goal is the Premier League. I want to give another opportunity to the players who played against Derby for them to show how good they are.

"Believe me, I don't think about Sevilla (in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday), I think about Millwall.

"Our focus is on Millwall because they are in good shape. They beat Bournemouth and Watford. From December 17, they don't lose and they score goals. Everything is fantastic (for them). They fight. We know everything and we are positive."

Islam Slimani is out for the Foxes as he struggles with a groin injury.

Leonardo Ulloa is also likely to sit out with a thigh problem while Ron-Robert Zieler could replaced Kasper Schmeichel in goal and Ben Chilwell, Demarai Gray, Nampalys Mendy and Shinji Okazaki are all in line to start.

Photos

More»

PICTURE SPECIAL: Juventus 2 - 0 Empoli

Sunday February 26 2017

Curvy model Joselyn Cano

Saturday February 25 2017


Attention: Third parties may advertise their products and/or services on our website.7M does not warrant the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of their contents.
Your dealings with such third parties are solely between you and such third parties and we shall not be liable in any way for any loss or damage of any sort incurred by you.