IAN Holloway insists Millwall have a bright future ahead of them – regardless of whether the club stays in the Championship this season.
Holloway was speaking after watching his side held to a 0-0 draw by Charlton.
The Lions blew the chance to move six points ahead of the Addicks in the table and will drop into the bottom three if their south London rivals win one of four games in hand.
But Holloway was in bullish mood afterwards and said Millwall's fate was far from sealed.
"I am going to try to keep the club up," he said. "I could have sat at home until the summer and said I might like to take the job then, but I like getting my hands dirty.
"If it [relegation] ruins my reputation, I do not care. I want to be here a long time and get us playing the right way. We'll either be good enough or we won't.
"I think the long-term future for us is bright because we have got some wonderful young fellas coming through and I can't wait to work with them.
"As long as I continue to see the bits and pieces that I saw today, I'll be encouraged.
"At the end of the day, I wanted to make a bigger impact and I will do that in the long term. Short-term, things are not turning yet but we have got to keep going.
"I have seen some massive differences in that dressing room – the way people are, the way they are communicating with each other. They're starting to play for the badge.
"I did not see any of the games before I came but I don't think they were playing with the same passion and encouragement as they are now."
Holloway handed 17-year-old Fred Onyedinma his first start for the club and the midfielder nearly scored with his first touch – a near-post headed that flew wide.
"I'm thinking the same as most people after that – all we needed was a goal," Holloway said.
"I thought it was going to be a fairytale when Fred whipped his neck around that cross, I was thinking 'here we go'.
"Unfortunately it went wide of the post and so Charlton are probably happier with the result than I am.
"We wanted to make them have to win two of their games in hand.
"We kept trying but there were a few nerves out there and we didn't create as many chances as we would have liked."
Holloway added: "We didn't give the ball to Fred enough. I don't think the other lads realise what he can do for a kid who is 17.
"Fred was going to be on the bench but Lee Martin jarred his knee in training yesterday and Richard Chaplow's Achilles was terrible, so he couldn't be involved.
"Fred stepped in and I had no qualms about playing him. I thought he handled the game well. The crowd loved him and on another day we'll give him the ball a bit more.
"He has got a lot of ability – he is a box of tricks – and we just needed something to come off for us. He's got everything but we've got to play it down.
"Until he has played another 99 games he is not really a professional yet. Everybody writes a lot about young players but I believe in our young lads."
6ft8in Austrian striker Stefan Maierhofer also made his debut for the Lions as a second-half substitute.
"You've got to be brave to play the way I want so hopefully I've simplified it by bringing on the big man," Holloway said. "We've got to learn how to use him but he'll cause problems.
"We look solid, much more solid than we have done, but we could be freer and more open like we were at Derby after we scored.
"Games are getting tight now and we need to score an ugly goal – I am not saying Stefan's ugly, he is quite a good looking chap – but he's big enough to knock something in.
"I wanted at least six points out of our last nine nine but we couldn't get a goal today.
"At Blackpool we hit the post, hit the bar and missed a penalty and lost 1-0 to a free header from a corner.
"So am I happy? No. Can we do better? Yes. Are there a lot of things looking better? I think so, but the results aren't going better. We've got to dig in and keep fighting."