After Millwall's fine run ended at Ipswich, FanZoner Charlie Mahoney is confident they will bounce back.
Things looking up for the Lions despite Ipswich defeat
Responding to a loss after a lengthy unbeaten run can be a difficult task. Last Saturday's 3-0 capitulation at Ipswich signalled the end of an astonishing thirteen games without defeat, and a reality check unrelenting in its severity.
But many of us had been aware that such a setback was imminent. Few teams are lucky enough to experience fairy tales - something of which we aren't exactly accustomed to in Bermondsey. Additionally, there are a number of reasons to remain upbeat regardless.
We find ourselves seventh in the league, equal on points with Watford in sixth and more significantly, a play-off position. Just three months ago, this seemed unthinkable. Since then, determination, team spirit, defensive solidity and the ability to create and take chances have all combined to devastating effect, leaving Millwall with a genuine chance of competing for top flight football next season.
Two of the additions seen as being instrumental to this turnaround, Mark Beevers and Chris Wood, have also stated their intent to prolong their stay at The Den, with the former having already agreed to a three-and-a-half year deal as of January 1st. At a fee of just £250,000, Lions fans may be waiting for the catch, but the centre-half's performances since arriving in October have provided substantial evidence that this is an exceptional piece of business.
Chris Wood's future has been something of an obsession for Millwall supporters, and with reports that a bid has been tabled for the New Zealand international, it appears that this enthusiasm is very much echoed by the club. The striker has scored an impressive eight goals in 16 appearances, and that attempts are potentially being made to sign a player of this calibre suggests a real sense of ambition.
Of course, much of this positivity hinges on how we respond to the previous result, but there is just cause for confidence. Kenny Jackett's team are free from the more strenuous expectations of the division's bigger clubs - the recent history of sides such as Nottingham Forest and Leeds United only serving to illustrate just how much of a debilitating thing this can be - and have flourished under the media label of mere relegation fodder.
Just as specific passages of play from the Ipswich game will unquestionably need to be addressed, the result also gives us some much-needed perspective for the future in general. There is still a considerable way to go before the season concludes, and as the resurgent Tractor Boys are beginning to show, several other candidates for the top end of the table may still emerge.
Saturday's home encounter with Leicester City will come as a considerable test, though from what has been shown over the past nine weeks, it should be one that our players are relishing. Was defeat at Ipswich a mere blip, or the genesis of something far more malignant? Time will tell.