This week, with Ryan still away on his holidays I caught up with Millwall fan, Neil for a look ahead to tomorrow’s fixture at Elland Road.

TSS – It seems you’ve started the new campaign with all guns blazing. Is this a better start than you expected or did you expect to surprise a few people? More importantly, is it sustainable?

Neil – I laughed when people had us down as relegation fodder. We’d have won the league had we not had almost an entire side out injured for the first part of last season. Our record against the top sides last season was terrific and I had no doubt we’d make the step up and be competitive. I didn’t quite expect us to trounce City 3-0 at Ashton Gate and beat Hull 4-0 at The Den mind.

TSS – There’s certainly no love lost between Leeds and Millwall. Is Elland Road one of the fixtures you instantly look out for when they are released, and what are your feelings towards the club?

Neil – To be honest it’s not. The measures in place for us to obtain tickets at Elland Road is ridiculous and sadly doesn’t look like ending anytime soon. I won’t be making the trip this season but have done the previous two times. As far as rivalry goes it’s all banter, to be honest games against our traditional rivals have been few and far between recently so I think we’ve kinda adopted each other as rivals.

TSS – I’d definitely agree – In previous seasons there wasn’t much to look out for being stuck in League One and Millwall were among the more exciting fixtures. This season, with so many Yorkshire teams in the division, the Millwall game has lost a lot of it’s significance.

It seems as though you’ve been stalking us for the past few seasons, so most Leeds fans will be well aware of the danger men in your team. Will it be the same old faces causing havoc at Elland Road, or are there some new players we should be keeping an eye on?

Neil – James Henry is the man to watch. Quite how Reading let him go I have no idea. Expected to earn an England Under 21 call up when the squad is announced in a few weeks.

TSS – It’s been steady progress under Kenny Jackett so far, culminating in your play-off success last season. How do the Millwall fans rate him? Is he the right man for the job?

Kenny's the man for the job

Neil – Kenny Jackett is the best manager we have had possibly since George Graham in 1985. The respect he has from the supporters is untold and without any shadow of a doubt he is the man to lead us.

TSS – Last season was an emotional rollercoaster of epic proportions for us Leeds fans and you guys seemed to have it just as hard. Tell me about the emotions you felt over those final few weeks and that final moment at Wembley?

Neil – Last season was a mixture of a emotions. I honestly felt we could catch you even when we were 20 points behind. When we did catch you I think nerves got the better of us, glad to say we recovered for the play offs and deservedly won promotion.

TSS – It’s not often we’re visited by a team that’s hated as much as we are, but Millwall unquestionably are. I’ve always felt that the hatred shown towards Leeds United helps to create a siege mentality that this clubs success has been built on. Would you agree it’s a similar story for Millwall, or do you see your reputation as more of a hindrance?

Neil – To be honest without our reputation and edge we’d be a bit like Brentford or Orient, and to be honest who wants to be like that? I’m proud of our history and our tough working class docker roots.

TSS – I think most Leeds fans would agree that we like our reputation. The Dirty Leeds name was born of jealousy when we broke the natural order of things in the 60’s and broke up the old boys network.

Sticking with reputation, whenever people mention Millwall the words ‘football hooligans’ often follow in the same breath. Leeds United are rarely portrayed as angels either, and there’s been several flare-ups when these two sides have met. Is this just a small minority of troublesome fans, or do you think it’s a much larger problem with Millwall?

Neil – The thing with Millwall is that everyone will back each other up. It’s not all “firm” organised. If someone has a pop ordinary fellas will have a pop back. I don’t think our firm is anymore active/unactive than most others.

TSS – Again, it’s probably the same with Leeds to an extent. The papers pick up on any minor trouble afterwards and the whole thing is blown out of proportion keeping our “nasty” image intact!

Not a big fan of early kick-offs, but Saturday’s game has been re-arranged for your visit. Will this help prevent the potential for trouble, or make no difference whatsoever?

Neil – I’d be surprised if we take more than 400. Leeds fans dig us out for what we take to Elland Road but they completely forget the ridiculous measures we need to go through.

TSS – I think most Leeds fans see you as a bit of a bogey team after the two defeats last season and your success against us in the play-offs. Are you expecting to triumph again on Elland Road, or are you wary of a Leeds United side eager to get their season under way?

Neil – I think you are due a result against us so I am a bit wary and I’d take a point if offered now. In saying that if we play as well as we have been I have no doubt we’ll take the 3 points.

TSS – Finally, what are your predictions for the 2010-11 Championship season as a whole?

Neil – Still too early to say to be honest. Honestly think we’ll make the Top 6 but other than that couldn’t tell you

Many thanks to Neil for taking part in this week’s interview.

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