NEIL Harris firmly believes that a number of players coming through Millwall's youth ranks will one day play for the first team.
Harris has been charged with managing the club's development squad since his appointment as a coach in the summer, and has overseen three wins, one draw and just one defeat in the U21s' five competitive fixtures so far this season.
And former striker Harris is convinced that, in the not too distant future, the Lions will be able to field home-grown players at senior level.
He said: "The boys coming through, especially some of the U18s who are already playing up an age group in the U21s, will play for the first team – without a shadow of a doubt.
"The foremost important thing for the academy – from U16s upwards – is to produce first-team players for the club. That's the sole and main aim of it."
Harris, who is also heavily involved with the first team, particularly on a match day, says he has enjoyed making the transition from playing to coaching.
"I'm always picking up knowledge from the gaffer, Mick Harford and Tim Breacker so it's a learning curve for me as well, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it," he said.
"Trying to link the U21s with the first team is really important, because that unity has been a tradition at Millwall. We should pride ourselves on bringing local talent through our youth system – that is one of my aims.
"The improvement in the players is phenomenal. I have got a bunch of lads who come in to training – every single day – with a desire to work hard and improve, which is fantastic.
"I studied them all for a good few weeks at the start of pre-season, picked up on their strengths and weaknesses and since then we have tried to enhance their game and their understanding of it."