BRIAN McDERMOTT is confident Sam Byram has cleared a big psychological hurdle in his quest to reproduce the stellar form he reached in 2012-13.
The right-back and multiple club award winner last season completed his first 90 minutes of the campaign in Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup defeat at Newcastle United, following on from his maiden league start of the season last weekend.
His extended game-time on Tyneside represented a big positive for the Leeds boss, whose side will be seeking to end a run of three straight defeats against rejuvenated Millwall today.
McDermott, who welcomes back Lee Peltier, Tom Lees and Luke Varney, with Alex Mowatt also pushing for his first full league start, said: “It was really important that he (Byram) played 90 minutes and he came through it smashing. That was pleasing for me.
“It would have been easy to leave him out of that game just because we were playing two games in a few days, but from his point of view, he’s gone through that psychological barrier now, playing two games in a short period of time.
“From my point of view, it was important that he did that.”
McDermott faces his first experience of one of the most hostile fixtures in the Championship calendar today, with no love lost between both sets of supporters.
The prerequisite in being successful in any game at a testing arena like the New Den, as McDermott is quick to acknowledge, is being able to compete first and foremost and not be cowed by the intimidating atmosphere, and the Leeds boss says his side will be ready.
He added: “Millwall have got two wins, one draw and one defeat. Seven points out of 12. That tells you what the championship is like. They’ve really picked up.
“We know what it’s like when you go to Millwall. You have to be ready for the battle and be ready to be brave and do what you have to do. We’ll be ready.
“The people at Millwall want their team to do well. I have no problem with that or the fans at Millwall. I always get a bit of stick there, but I get that at most away grounds. That’s how it is.
“Most of it is banter and they’ve got their banter. All that matters is that we go there prepared and get the right result.”