MIDFIELDER Shaun Williams feels the physical nature of last Saturday’s game against CD Tondela will benefit Millwall when they face Shrewsbury on Saturday.
Williams scored the Lions’ second equaliser but it wasn't enough to prevent the Portuguese side winning 3-2.
The former Republic of Ireland U21 international is anticipating a similarly robust contest at New Meadow but believes his side can get their season up and running with a win.
He said: “The first game of the season is always going to be a bit scrappy but if we battle as well as they do hopefully the three points will follow.
“Tondela’s approach to the game surprised us a bit. There was some rustiness but that’s part and parcel of pre-season.
“I don’t know how many free-kicks there were but it kind of ruined the flow of the game. It felt at times like we couldn’t get near them and then when we had it there were always two or three coming towards you.
“They worked it quite well and it’s something we have to sharpen up on but that’s something we’ll work on.
“It was the first game on the new pitch, it’s a lot bigger than it was last season, but that’s not an excuse. It was quite tough covering the ground.”
Williams has scored just three times since joining the Lions in January 2014, having mostly occupied a central defensive or deep-lying midfield role, but he says boss Neil Harris wants his midfield to show more attacking impetus this season.
“In play he has been encouraging us to break forward into the box whereas before it was more sitting back. Hopefully I can get forward and get a few more goals.”
Williams also emphatically dismissed the notion that Millwall will feel the pressure of being one of the marked sides in the league and one of the title favourites.
Harris' side are currently joint third favourites to win League One behind Sheffield United and Wigan.
When asked if that pressure would be felt Williams said: “No, not at all, not by us. We’re focused on our goal to get into the top six.”