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Millwall boss hails resilience as they dig in for point at Blackburn despite fresh injury setback for Arsenal loanee – South London News

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Millwall manager Gary Rowett hailed the fighting spirit of his players as they dug in for a 0-0 draw at Blackburn Rovers despite a fresh injury setback for Daniel Ballard.

The Arsenal loanee only recently returned to the starting line-up after knee surgery.

And Ballard’s reintegration into the Lions side was due to Shaun Hutchinson being ruled out with a calf problem.

But the Northern Ireland international was replaced at the break by George Evans.

“Dan just felt his groin at half time,” said Rowett. “It is something he felt before and he is not long back from injury.

“I’m certainly content with a point. We knew it was going to be a difficult game on the back of travelling up here previously [for a late postponement], having a lot of games and expending an awful lot of energy.

“We’ve got a limited squad at the moment, we have got so many injuries. It is really difficult to make changes to create that little bit of zip about your play.

“I couldn’t be critical of the players. They have given me absolutely everything in the last run of games – five wins and a draw at fourth-placed Blackburn is certainly no disgrace.

“We defended resiliently, a lot of balls came into our box. They had one chance in the first half for Gallagher, another half-chance in the second half and then a great save from Bart, that was probably the biggest moment of the game, to get us a clean sheet and point.

“There were maybe three or four moments in the second half if we had the final pass. We haven’t got the likes of Ojo, Burke, Freeman, Bradshaw, Leonard and Mason Bennett wasn’t really fit today – that’s why I didn’t bring him on earlier.

“It is a really difficult period and the players showed incredible commitment.”

Rowett switched from 5-2-3 to 4-3-3 after the restart, Evans going into the midfield. But then he reverted back to a three-man central defence when he brought on Alex Pearce for Tyler Burey.

“We just didn’t quite have the zip and aggressive defending we had earlier to get closer,” he explained. “So we played 4-3-3 and tried to sit with Evans to see if we could block that space – for about 10 minutes we were probably worse!

“We brought on Pearcey just to steady the ship and make sure we had a little bit more control. You could see at that point it didn’t really matter what we did in an attacking sense – we just couldn’t quite get out with quality. We had to make sure we had a good base and didn’t allow Blackburn too many clearcut chances.”

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