Millwall boss: Bigger pitch will suit our mobile attackers

© Edmund Boyden
© Edmund Boyden

NEIL Harris says he made the decision to extend the length of the playing surface at The Den by six metres because it will suit his mobile attackers.

Harris instructed the ground staff to increase the length of the pitch to 106 metres as part of maintenance work at the ground.

It is further insight into the brand of football the Millwall boss wants his side to play.

“I noticed during the charity game at the end of the season that the pitch was nowhere near as big as it was originally,” Harris explained. “It dawned on me that I would’ve liked to have played on a bigger pitch with space to run into.

“I think the good sides I played in, we played on a big pitch. The Den was made into a big pitch for one reason and one reason only – to play attractive, attacking football with pace and power in the team and that’s where we want to get to.

“It made sense to me to resize the pitch; it will enable us to get forward into dangerous areas and with our athleticism, our players will be able to get around the pitch. It’ll certainly benefit us as a team and a squad and should see the open attacking football that we want to see.

“When you’ve got players in the building like Lee Gregory, Aiden O’Brien, John Marquis, Fred Onyedinma, Paris Cowan-Hall, Lee Martin, Ed (Upson) and Jimmy (Abdou), you’ve got athletes and runners.

“You’ve got pace and players who can run and run and run, and we can use that to our advantage.”

The flipside is Millwall will have to adapt to playing on tighter pitches away from The Den, but Harris isn’t worried by that prospect.

“I think it’ll be different, it always is when you go to away grounds. It goes both ways: we’ll have the advantage at home on the bigger pitch, but when you go away and play on a smaller pitch then it’s my decision to mix the tactics or the team to suit the opposition and the pitch.

“But I don’t see that as a problem.”

John Kelly


9 thoughts on “Millwall boss: Bigger pitch will suit our mobile attackers

  • June 15, 2015 at 10:38

    Good move I think, making the Den a bit different to other grounds and even more of a test to the away team. I am sure having to adjust to playing on a bigger pitch is more of a disadvantage, if you are use to a smaller playing area than having to adjust to a smaller pitch when we play away.

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  • June 15, 2015 at 10:53

    Bigger pitch equals more space but for the away teams too and could make us more susceptible to long ball counter more often. Our defensive frailties showed a lack of pace too. This pitch change also will not guarantee we will have playing staff in the near future or beyond who will appreciate it. Playing away will be more challenging and opposition teams will know we will have a handicap no matter how it's dressed up. The playing surface is more important (no rugby please).

    I hope too this doesn't lead to more injuries in having to run more too.

    Hope it works out but I have my reservations and it's not a white elephant - plenty of those with coco the clown.

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