Millwall boss Gary Rowett has revealed that captain Shaun Hutchinson is set to miss the Championship tie against his former club Fulham on Tuesday while Maikel Kieftenbeld could also be absent.
The central defender missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers due to a quad issue that surfaced in training on Friday.
Jake Cooper’s return to the starting XI helped to soften the blow but it seems Hutchinson is now set to miss Tuesday’s clash against promotion hopefuls Fulham, who the 30-year-old left to join the Lions in 2016.
Speaking to South London Press, Rowett revealed that the Millwall skipper was set to have a scan on his quad and was likely to miss the game at The Den tomorrow evening.
He said: “I imagine Hutchy is going to be a doubt. I think he’ll go for a scan tomorrow [Monday].
“We don’t think it is anything too serious but we don’t want to risk him this early in the season and end up with him out for a long time.
“It’s obviously a blow that he’s unavailable at the moment and disappointing it happened so close to the game.
“He felt his quad on Friday and pulled out of the training session midway through as a precaution.
“He still felt his quad on Saturday but felt a lot better. He went outside at the training ground and did a little bit of fitness test and pitched it still at about 70 or 80 percent running.
“If you remember previously he had his calf issue where he felt something, played on and ended up pulling his calf and being out for six weeks. It’s probably in the back of Hutchy’s mind to make sure rather than keep playing.
“The scan will tell us a little bit more Monday and we’ll have a clearer picture.
The Lions boss indicated that he could be set to make a number of changes for Tuesday’s game against Fulham, with Maikel Kieftenbeld one that may well miss out.
He said: “Maikel was a little bit tight after the [Blackburn] game with his calf. It will be more fatigue-based with one or two of the others, whether they can go three games in a week on the back of a pre-season – it might mean we need to freshen up one or two areas.
“I’ll know a little bit more once I’ve seen the players train. We’re going to need energy against Fulham because they are a good side.”
The busy Championship schedule means that including the 1-1 draw against Rovers on Saturday, Rowett’s side play three games in seven days finishing with a trip to Cardiff City.
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Hutchinson’s absence against a strong side like Fulham would be a real blow, particularly given Aleksandar Mitrovic’s physicality, but it’s not worth risking a long-term injury that could see Millwall without him for a significant period.
The back three, which included Cooper, Danny Ballard, and Murray Wallace, were impressive in the 30-year-old’s absence on Saturday, restricting Blackburn to just one shot on target all game.
Tomorrow night’s game is likely to be a sterner test but Rowett will have confidence that the options available to him can be effective against Fulham.
The Millwall boss has suggested changes are likely to be made to his side to freshen things up but against a promotion frontrunner like Marco Silva’s team, he won’t want to make too many.
Rowett will be awaiting the results of today’s scan as losing Hutchinson for a long period would be a real blow to their play-off hopes.