'I could have been playing for Norwich' says Millwall hotshot
Paddy Davitt Millwall's on loan hotshot Shaun Batt revealed yesterday that he could have been lining up for the Canaries in tomorrow's League One clash at the New Den.
Millwall's on loan hotshot Shaun Batt revealed yesterday that he could have been lining up for the Canaries in tomorrow's League One clash at the New Den.
The 22-year-old Peterborough frontman was linked with a potential transfer window switch from London Road to the club where he had trials as a teenager under former City youth chief Aidy Boothroyd.
“I did hear those rumours but as a player you hear a lot of rumours,” said Batt, who has moved to the Lions on a loan deal until the end of the season. “But you learn as a footballer that until something concrete happens then you just put things like that to the back of your mind and carry on playing - which is what I did.
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“My brother was actually at Norwich in the youth team for five or six years and when Aidy Boothroyd was there he gave me a trial for a couple of weeks.
“There was some interest around and it was a difficult decision to drop back down to League One because you want to play at the highest level you can and prove yourself.
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“I'd made quite a few Championship appearances this season and felt I could do a job. I know I'm more than good enough to get back to that level but dropping down to League One for the rest of the season is not a problem for me. I think it can only do a lot for my game and bring me on again.”
Batt scored on his Millwall debut in the recent 2-0 home league win over Southend that kept Kenny Jackett's men firmly in the play-off pack.
“It has gone well for me personally and the team is unbeaten so far,” he said. “I'm hoping that will continue at the weekend because the boys are playing at a good level and we are confident. It's a massive game for us - Norwich are on a great run at the minute but from our point of view we are looking to progress up the league. Norwich are going so well, which makes it a big one for our fans.
“Coming down here to The Den I'd heard about it and knew about it as an opposition player but you don't realise quite how intimidating it is. The crowds really get behind us and give us that support so it is tough for visiting teams. I think the feeling within our group is they want to go one better than last year when they reached the play-offs. It's going to be tough but a lot of the boys know what it takes to get into those play-offs and they want to go all the way and test themselves in the Championship and prove they are good players.”
Batt clinched League One promotion last season in the same Posh side that featured Norwich's permanent New Year recruit Russell Martin.
“We had a tremendous season last year winning promotion to the Championship and I'd love to have that feeling again with Millwall,” he said. “I haven't spoken to him yet but I'm sure they'll be some banter before the game and on the pitch but when the whistle goes it will be all business.
“I'm sure we'll have a drink afterwards. For me at Posh this season I just felt personally it was a case of I should be starting more games. I wasn't starting as many as I would have liked and I felt like I'm at an important age and important stage of my career and I need to be playing, so I wanted to get out and play regular football.”
Batt is warning his new team mates they need to nullify City's potent frontline after a first hand brush with a Wes Hoolahan-inspired Norwich second string earlier this season.
The 22-year-old struck a brace in a 5-2 London Road reserve win against a strong Norwich line up that featured both Hoolahan and the previously out-of-favour Gary Doherty.
“Everyone knows about (Grant) Holt and his goalscoring record but Hoolahan has been brilliant since he came back in,” said Batt. “I remember him playing when I was at Posh and we played them in the reserves and everyone thought this guy should be in the first team. You can see why they have got goals in them and why they are up there challenging for the title.”