Wilkins and Wise make claims for Millwall job

Millwall 1 Nottingham Forest

Conrad Leach
Monday 03 November 2003 01:00
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Ray Wilkins revealed his interest in taking the Millwall manager's job permanently after this victory which pushed the Lions to the edge of the play-off zone.

Wilkins, the former Chelsea and England midfielder, is the head coach of the south Londoners, having been brought in to help Dennis Wise, who himself was appointed caretaker-manager after Mark McGhee was sacked last month. Wilkins has managed before, and always in the capital, firstly with Queen's Park Rangers and then Fulham, and his stint with Millwall runs out this Saturday, when they face Norwich City. After that, he has said he will move aside and wait for the Millwall chairman, Theo Paphitis, to make a decision.

Wilkins was not a success at either Fulham or QPR, and most of his work since he retired as a player has been as a coach, although it was clear after this game that he still feels passionately he can take Millwall forward.

However, he faces a dilemma, namely that he is close to Paphitis. As Wilkins said: "I'm a long-standing friend of Theo's and that is a problem for some, because it means a conflict of interest. It is about business and wouldn't affect our friendship. I would be very interested in the manager's job and I have applied verbally."

Of course Wise, another former Chelsea and England midfielder, is the man in charge and has led his team to three games without defeat. According to the goalkeeper, Tony Warner, who made two outstanding saves before Kevin Braniff headed his first League goal on the brink of half-time, the mood among the players has improved since McGhee left.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Warner said. "The lads are pulling for Wisey a bit more, and that's because he's in the dressing-room with us. It's a bit more enjoyable."

If it was a good day for Wise's job prospects, it was also an excellent one for the Millwall youth system. Peter Sweeney, a 19-year-old left-footer on the right wing, showed he was not afraid to show off his range of tricks and flicks in only his second game of the season. He set up Braniff, a 20-year-old from Belfast and another product of the youth team, and his goal left Paul Hart, Nottingham Forest's manager, cursing another bad day out in London.

Goal: Braniff (45) 1-0.

Millwall (4-4-2): Warner; Ryan, D P Ward, Robinson, Muscat; Fofana (Hearn, 67), Roberts, Cahill, Sweeney; Peeters, Whelan (Braniff, 43) Substitutes not used: Gueret (gk), Lawrence, Wise.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): D Ward; Louis-Jean (Robertson, 77), Walker, Thompson, Morgan; Reid, Jess (Bopp, 74), Williams (McPhail, 81), Stewart; Harewood, Taylor. Substitutes not used: Roche (gk), Gunnarsson.

Bookings: Millwall: Peeters. Nottingham Forest: Louis-Jean, Bopp.

Referee: P Walton (Winwick).

Man of the match: Warner.

Attendance: 9,635.

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