NEIL Harris has warned his players that their achievements over the past two years count for little as he ponders his starting XI for the first game of the Championship season.
There is just one more pre-season fixture in which to impress before the trip to face Nottingham Forest at the City Ground next Friday.
Millwall welcome Spanish Segunda Division side Granada to The Den on Saturday, a week after Harris was critical with the attitude of the squad before their defeat to Barnet.
Harris has added five new signings to the squad that won promotion from League One by beating Bradford at Wembley in May, but he won’t let sentiment influence team selection.
“It’s going to be the reality for some that what you’ve achieved with me over the last two years is hugely appreciated by all of us, but it doesn’t guarantee you a place in my team,” Harris said.
“There are some players from what I saw Saturday who think they have a given right to be in my team. I’ve shown over my tenure that that’s not the case, that I’ll always pick a team I feel is capable of winning a game of football or based on players that deserve to play because of form, performances, attitude on the training pitch and in games.
“Everybody has to realise that last year’s gone. I feel we’ve raised the standard with the players that we’ve brought in. The players that were already here have to match that or catch up quickly.
“Leading into the Forest game I have a fairly clear picture of the team I’d like to pick. Can it change? Of course, good and bad – players could play their way out of the team, some could play their way in.
“I’ve seen some really, really impressive players come back pre-season and I’ve seen players come back not looking as good as I’d hoped they would.
“Of course when August 4 comes there will be 11 very happy players and 10 or so who won’t be happy.
“That’s down to them to fight their way in, to realise why they’re not in the team and where they have to get to. But that’s the beauty of the game, it’s a long season.”
Image: Millwall FC