CHIEF scout Jamie Johnson believes Millwall will struggle to find another striker in the mould of Harry Kane or Chris Wood in the near future.
The Lions' talent-spotter has been scouring the fringes of Premier League squads for a replacement for Wood since the West Brom loanee joined Leicester City at the start of January.
Johnson went through the same process in the aftermath of Kane's return to Tottenham at the end of last season and consequently recommenced Wood to manager Kenny Jackett.
Millwall moved quickly to replace Darius Henderson earlier this week by bringing in Rob Hulse, but the void left by Wood's departure remains clear for all to see.
But while Johnson says a dearth of like-for-like replacements could force a shift in the club's transfer strategy in the short term, he insists it is not impossible to replace the New Zealand international.
He told NewsAtDen: "There are loads of very good technical footballers but if you're talking in terms of stature, there's not many Harry Kanes and Chris Woods around, certainly not of that certain type.
"We did pretty well to get them to start with – we put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes and made a lot of phone calls. It's a long process even after you've identified them.
"It's a tough one but you can't say it's impossible to replace Wood – because it's not. Sometimes you end up replacing a really good player with two or three others that make the team better.
"Sir Alex Ferguson is really good at that – he sells one and gets a couple in. That's what he did with Cristiano Ronaldo, so it can be done.
"You have to know what you're looking for and be ready for when players become available. Martyn Woolford is a prime example. That's how we're going approaching it at the moment."
Supporters have questioned why Millwall appear reluctant to take a gamble on a striker from the lower leagues, with Port Vale's Tom Pope a name that has been bandied about feverishly.
But Johnson says scoring goals is not the be all and end all of a striker. He explained: "There is no outstanding striker at the moment in League One or League Two, so we've got to aim higher up.
"There are one or two in the lower leagues that will come through eventually and we will keep an eye on those. I've watched everything – Championship, League One, League Two and Conference.
"There are lots of reasons why we don't sign a player. Just because someone is at the top of the goalscoring charts in League One that doesn't mean they are good enough for the Championship.
"If it was that easy, you could sit at home reading a newspaper and you would not have to go out scouting players."
And Johnson says that even when the Lions do want to sign a player, there are countless obstacles that could scupper a deal.
"Contracts are important," he said. "Do they want to come or not? If they're a northern lad, do they want to come to London? That type of stuff.
"Does the player's family want to move? Do they have young children? Are they settled in school? Even when you do sign a player, there are lots of things that go on in the background.
"It's the same in any walk of life. If there's something wrong at home it can translate into your work. You don't concentrate as much. Footballers aren't machines, unfortunately.
"Above all, players have got to want to come to Millwall to start with. That is the main thing. Once that's established, it's up to us to sell the club to them and offer them the right deal for them.
"That's not always possible. We're not Leicester, so we can't splash out and spends loads and loads of money. It can be frustrating at times but that's just how it is, you've got to get on with it.
"It's part of the job. If a club in League One or League Two takes a player on loan and he does well, we might be interested. Then it's frustrating for them.
"MK Dons had Mark Beevers last year and if they wanted him again – and I don't know whether they did or not – they can't get him, because we bought him. There's a knock-on effect.
"At least we're in the Championship and we've got more of a chance of signing the likes of Adam Smith, Wood and Kane.
"One day you're frustrated and the next day something else comes off. You move on."