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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK
Striking options spur on Spackman
By Charlie Henderson

Kevin Braniff
Braniff has scored scored two goals in three appearances
Millwall manager Nigel Spackman may not have been impressed by his side's 2-1 Carling Cup win over Gillingham, but there was one aspect to cheer him.

Goalscorers Kevin Braniff and Poul Hubertz showed there are options in attack for the Lions this season.

"I'm very pleased Kevin got the first as he was absolutely outstanding and worked extremely hard," said Spackman.

"And then the big man comes off the bench and gets a great header. He will be a major asset for us."

Spackman, five games into his tenure as Millwall boss after almost five years out of management, cut a frustrated figure following the victory.

You sensed there was a "but" to come after he said he was "pleased with the result", and he did not disappoint.

"But Poul still needs to improve," he added. "As does the team, it wasn't a good enough performance.

"We played too many long balls and didn't play the passing and movement that I know we can.

"It was a hard battle, Gillingham worked hard and got themselves back into the game and we had to call on all our resources to win.

"I can't fault the effort and the work-rate but we must pass the ball a lot better than we did if we're to progress."

Millwall's early results made a mockery of the club's status as fifth favourites to go up from League One this season.

Whoever we get in the Cup doesn't matter - all you can ask for is a home draw and if you can get a Premiership team that would be fantastic for the whole club

Spackman on the Carling Cup second round draw

The nadir came in a 5-1 away defeat to Cheltenham.

And the only way from that is up and Spackman's squad, who boast 14 new faces from summer transfer activity, are on the first tentative steps to recovery.

The Carling Cup outing was their second win in succession, hence the pleasure gleaned from the result, and while it was far from an assured display Spackman conceded there were "some bright performances".

None more so than from Braniff and Hubertz, particularly with Darren Byfield, one of those many new faces at the New Den, out with an ankle injury following his move from the Gills and Marvin Williams struggling with a knock.

"Kevin showed a good attitude in training and a good attitude when playing in the reserves and he has taken his opportunity," Spackman said of the 23-year-old Ulsterman who started the match up front on his own.

"He came on at Chesterfield and scored a good goal, did well at the weekend and then he got this goal and lasted the full 90 minutes.

"Credit to him. He has shown good form and is getting better all the time.

Poul Hubertz
Hubertz has come off the bench five times and scored two in two

"His touch is excellent and he just needs a bit of confidence from people putting their faith in him and hopefully he's getting that. The crowd are giving him that and that's given him a big lift.

"But there's still more to come from him as there is with so many players here."

Cue Hubertz, a tall, 29-year-old Dane signed from AAL Aalborg who has played in every game this season but has yet to start for the Lions.

"He has to get used to the way the game is played with such passion over here and the work-rate you have to have," Spackman reflected.

"I know he's been a bit homesick and he's trying to find a place over here for his girlfriend and kids to come over, which doesn't help.

"And I can't knock him for his goal on Saturday or this goal as that's what we want from him.

"But I know that there is so much more there to give and he will get better - that's for sure."

Improvement is the order of the day for Spackman and when thoughts turn to the weekend draw for the second round of the Carling Cup he shows where his priorities lie.

"I'd like three points against Cheltenham on Saturday, that's all I'm interested in," he said.

And a better performance.

Millwall 2-1 Gillingham
22 Aug 06 |  League Cup
Chesterfield 5-1 Millwall
12 Aug 06 |  League One
Lions receive double injury blow
09 Aug 06 |  Millwall
Millwall recruit Ardley and Poul
01 Aug 06 |  Millwall
Millwall name Spackman as manager
23 May 06 |  Millwall


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