Abdou finds strength in son's smile
Jimmy Abdou is ready to go into battle for Millwall at Wembley - but away from the pitch the French midfielder has a far more personal fight on his hands.
Abdou faces Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday and watching at home in Marseille will be his four-year-old son Ilyas, who has leukaemia. This season Abdou has had to combine his football career with making regular trips back to France to be with Ilyas, partner Lucie and their five-month-old daughter Inaya.
And Abdou Jnr. will be cheering on dad as the Lions attempt to overcome Wigan and reach the final. "He's had leukaemia for about nine months and is having treatment, he's doing well and hopefully he's going to get well again," said the 28-year-old.
"My strength is my son. When I see he is doing well I follow him, and hopefully we are going to get through it. He will be watching the game on Saturday so he'll be happy to see dad on the TV hopefully.
"The club and the manager have been brilliant, I can go back any time I need to. It's difficult, but when I'm here to do my job I give 100 per cent. You have problems in your life and you have to deal with them.
"When you play football for 90 minutes you have to switch off but when I finish the game the first thing I do is call home to see what's happening. When I go home and see him smiling and happy that's the main thing."
Millwall's cup run has raised the prospect of European football next season, with the semi-final winners set to qualify for the Europa League.
And having grown up a Marseille fan, Abdou could even find himself playing against his boyhood club.
"First to be in the Europa League would be great, for any footballer to play in a competition like that is wonderful," he added.
"And obviously to go back and play Marseille would be fantastic as well."
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