Gary Rowett has explained why Jed Wallace did not start Millwall’s Championship finale at AFC Bournemouth.
The attacker came on in the 58th minute for Mason Bennett in the Lions’ 1-0 defeat.
It could prove to be Wallace’s final outing in a Millwall shirt as he is out of contract at the end of June.
The 28-year-old had returned from a groin injury with a second-half appearance against Peterborough United in the club’s last home game.
“I spoke to Jed on the Friday and just said: ‘How do you feel?” and he felt he could get through a period of the game but not all of it,” said Rowett. “He has wanted to be out there because he wants to give his all until the end of the season. That is brilliant, really.
“I knew he wouldn’t be right to start the game after chatting to him. We had players that were fit. Mason [Bennett] had finished the last game so well and looked so strong that I felt the pace of Mason, Burkey and Benik would cause them problems on the turnover. But we just couldn’t quite do that apart from a few moments.
“It was just that last little bit, that final pass and bit of quality that they had a bit more of. We couldn’t quite find that to get into those areas.”
Murray Wallace was replaced at the break against Bournemouth.
“His groin was tight and just really inhibited his movement,” said Rowett. “We trained on Thursday and he looked like he felt it a little bit. He got through Friday. It was always going to be a hard one because we didn’t really have another option there.
“Muzza was making noises that he thought he’d be able to get through it. But you know when you see someone grimacing a bit in training, you kind of know – especially when it’s Murray – that it is going to be an issue.
“I felt as though he might not get through the game, which I knew would be a challenge for us. Doing it fairly early in the first half made it a lot more challenging.”