MILLWALL could have delayed acting on Shaun Cummings’ knee injury – but that would have meant the defender missing part of next season.
Cummings played 20 times this season but a persistent knee cartilage problem was causing him pain recently, convincing the club to pencil him in for an operation now rather than wait until the summer.
The surgery rules him out for the rest of this campaign, but Harris said the timing of it will give Cummings a chance to be ready for pre-season training.
“He’s a big loss to the squad,” Harris said. “He had really stepped up since Christmas, since Southend away. He’s really worked hard on his game and we’ve done quite a lot of work with him to improve.
“The good news for Shaun is he’s getting to the bottom of the problem now. We took medical advice to act now in the best interests of Shaun’s short-term and long-term career. He shouldn’t be far of full fitness for the start of next season.
“We could have delayed it and asked Shaun to carry on playing through the pain but there could have been a knock-on effect. He’s going to be out for four or five months so if he’d played on we’d be looking at him having an operation in the summer and then not having him fit until next Christmas.
“Yes, we have to concern ourselves with results at the moment but the bigger picture is we have to think about Shaun’s health and football career.
“He’s played with pain and swelling and hasn’t been able to train to the level he wanted to. He also had a little niggle with a hamstring so that was affecting him physically and mentally. It’s the right course of action for now.”
Harris has ruled out a move into the loan market as Carlos Edwards is available again after a hamstring problem and Mahlon Romeo, 20, has impressed in his last four games.
“Carlos is back fit which is a huge plus,” Harris said. “We’re okay because we’ve got the experience and the freshness coming through.
“Mahlon has stepped in and performed well recently. An opportunity arose for him and that’s what we ask of the youngsters, for them to come in and to perform. He’s been consistent in the four games. The staff and the senior players would say, ‘It’s a good start – but you have to carry it on.’”