AHEAD of the EFL fixtures being released on Wednesday, Neil Harris feels his Millwall side need to “hit the ground running” at the start of the 2016-17 campaign after their slow start last season.
The Lions only won one of their opening five fixtures – an opening day win against Shrewsbury – and were down in 19th in League One.
It took Harris’ men until mid-September to register their first home win last season and the Den boss is hoping his side can start off in better fashion than they did last year.
“We have to hit the ground running this year,” Harris said. “There is always an air of expectation at the start of a new season, and this one will be no different because of the second half of the campaign we had last year.
“We started last year off slowly with the hangover of seasons gone past and we managed to change the losing mentality into a winning one.
“That is something that stands us in good stead for the season ahead.
“There will be no promises from me, it’ll be down to the squad to put in the kind of performances that were more recognisable in the second half of the season.
“We certainly need to start of better than we did last year.”
Last year saw the emergence of a core of youth in Millwall’s first team with the likes of Mahlon Romeo, Ben Thompson and Jordan Archer all establishing themselves in the senior squad.
And Harris has said that the next wave of the academy will continue to get a chance in the first team during pre-season and thoughtout the forthcoming campaign.
“There will be opportunities for other players, you look at Jordan Archer, Mahlon Romeo and Ben Thompson, who were all regulars.
“Sid Nelson, Fred Onyedinma and of course Aiden O’Brien, who is slightly older than them, but they've all done really well for us.
“They all had spells in the team, and were impressive.
“You have players that, during the course of the season, have been knocking on the door and they will get their chance in pre-season – Jamie Philpot comes into that bracket.
“I have belief in the young payers coming through.
“Anyone in the U21 squad this summer has a chance of playing throughout the season.
“We proved that last year and it won’t be any different this year either.
“If they are in the youth team still or the U21s, if they are good enough and I feel they'll improve the squad, they’ll get the opportunity.”
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