MILLWALL’S success this season has taken everyone in the Championship by surprise – including Dougie Freedman.

But the Wanderers boss reckons the fact that the Lions are scrapping for a play-off position as we head towards February is testament to one of the game’s most under-rated managers in Kenny Jackett.

As the longest serving manager in the division, and the seventh in English football as a whole, Jackett has quietly gone about his business fashioning a hard-working side at The Den, without the budget of many of his peers.

The team heading for the Reebok still lacks star names – but anyone present in South London when the two sides met in October will attest the Lions definitely do not lack bite.

“Am I surprised at how well they have done? Yes,” he said “By looking at their team on paper, I am, but not when you look at the manager.

“I would guess he has been in management for 15 years now and people forget it was him who started the whole Swansea situation. He took them on when they were down and out and look at where they are now.

“He is very well respected so I’m not surprised that Millwall have done well because he’s there.”

Jackett’s name rarely comes up when the top jobs are available, despite his sterling reputation within the game.

But, having worked within the same London circles for several years, Freedman reckons his talents should not have gone unnoticed. “He’s very under-rated,” said the Scot. “A lot of managers have their image – the way they go about it or talk on TV, but if you look at people’s track records then Kenny Jackett would be right up there.

“When I come up against one of his teams I know I’m in for a hard game because they are always hard working.

“They are difficult to break down and they have scored goals this season too.

“I won’t be treating this game lightly at all.”