DOUGIE Freedman has moved to diffuse any potential problems at the Reebok on Saturday as Marvin Sordell prepares to face Millwall.
Around 1,100 Lions fans are heading to the North West, and concerns have been raised that the England Under-21 international striker could be made a target for abuse.
After initially airing the issue on his personal Twitter account, Sordell filed a complaint to police after claiming abusive language had been aimed towards himself and three other substitutes during a game at The Den on October 6, which led to a 13-year-old Millwall fan being banned from the ground for an extended period.
Controversy was stirred up again when a sickening picture was then posted on the 21-year-old’s Facebook page by a 14-year-old Millwall fan – later prompting his family to contact The Bolton News to confirm they had sent a full apology to the football club.
And in November, six Millwall fans were arrested when a banner aimed at Sordell and containing more abusive language was unfurled at a home game against Derby County.
The events threaten to cast a shadow on tomorrow’s game, although Freedman doubts that anything sinister should be read into the volume of supporters heading up from South London.
“Millwall are bringing up 1,100 fans and the reason they are bringing them is because I think this is a new stadium and I don’t think they’ve been here before,” he said. “It’ll make for a better atmosphere as far as I’m concerned.”
Sordell has been told to fall into line with club guidelines on Twitter after Freedman publicly admitted he had issues with his over-use of the social networking site.
But the Whites boss feels the former Watford man, who scored against Sunderland last weekend, is making progress, and confirmed he will be a part of the matchday squad tomorrow afternoon.
Referring to the ugliness that followed the game in October, Freedman believes the matter is now under control, provided his players bide by the guidelines he has set down.
“It has been dealt with from our side but I can’t control what people write on Twitter – they could be Blackburn fans or Burnley fans,” he said.
“I can control what we do and I think Marvin and especially the rest of the squad have stayed away from it.
“I think the Millwall fans in particular are up for a bit of banter, and I have come across them on many, many occasions, so it will be interesting to see what they bring to the party.”