Millwall could strengthen, but not at expense of youngsters

NEIL Harris isn’t ruling out signing another central midfielder – but he is wary of blocking the path to the first team for some of Millwall’s young prospects.

Lions manager Harris wants two players for each position, but at the moment has just three senior players – Jimmy Abdou, Ben Thompson and Shaun Williams – competing for two midfield spots.

Harris signed George Saville on loan from Wolves last season, and he could go down the same route if he feels the squad needs strengthening before League One kicks off on August 6.

Midfielders Kyron Farrell (above) and Kris Twardek, who have come through Millwall’s academy, signed new one-year deals in May, and both could challenge for spots in the first team this season.

Harris decided against offering Ed Upson a new deal this summer, with the midfielder moving to MK Dons. Jack Powell was also released after his contract expired at the end of June.

Harris gave youngsters Thompson and Mahlon Romeo their breaks last season and watched their influence grow after they cemented their first-team places.

The Millwall boss could still add to his squad, but he also wants to continue with the policy that was so successful last season.

“We monitor every position,” Harris said when asked if there were still areas that needed strengthening. “Yes I’d like two players for every position but it doesn’t necessarily have to be two first-team players at an experienced age with lots of games.

“If I take two first-team players for every position, where do the young players go? It’ll be two players for every position, or we have someone like Aiden O’Brien, for example, who is an excellent centre-forward but is also very good in the wide areas.

“In central midfield last year we had Ed Upson who only started two games there after the first week of the season. We always had the option of playing him there, as we did with Chris Taylor.

“I am conscious of the fact that with Shaun, Ben and Jimmy we have three excellent players and all three are very capable of playing in a pair in midfield.

“But I’ve also got Kyron Farrell who is a central midfielder. And if I follow the same policy as I have since I took over then Kyron will be given an opportunity to impress in central midfield while we’re away in Portugal and when we get back.

“The young lads will get the opportunity to impress and if they’re ready to take it, like Ben was after Christmas, then brilliant. If they’re not then we’ll have to nurture them a bit more or they might go out on loan and go from there.”

Image source ©Millwall FC

John Kelly