MILLWALL youngster Jack Powell believes his experiences from last season have put him in position to launch an assault on the first team.
Powell has made the bench on two occasions under Ian Holloway and the midfielder is hoping to use pre-season as an opportunity to impress the Lions boss.
The 20-year-old was released by West Ham in May 2013 but was quickly snapped up by Millwall academy boss Scott Fitzgerald.
And Powell has heaped praise on Fitzgerald and U21 coach Neil Harris for helping him progress to the fringes of the first team.
"I can't thank them enough," Powell explained.
"They've done so much for me since I've come into the club – they gave me the opportunity to make my mark.
"Neil has been fantastic. It's his first job in coaching at Millwall and it's like he's been doing it for years.
"His man management skills and how he talks to us as players is brilliant.
“He has really helped me. I came into the club a little later than pre-season and he gave me the opportunity to allow me to play my game and told me what I need to work on.
"It's nice when you know you can try things and play your own game with the backing of the manager.
"Neil’s helped me progress to making the mini-step I made last year in getting onto the bench."
Powell has revealed he models his game on the likes of Andrea Pirlo and fellow team-mate Shaun Williams.
"I like the way Shaun Williams plays," Powell said.
"He's really composed on the ball, he has a good left foot and great range of passing – but he isn't frightened to go in to win the ball back.
"I look up to Shaun in that way – you can trust him with the ball, you can give it to him anywhere and he'll look after it."
Powell is eager to break into the starting XI but says if that doesn't happen right away, he is prepared to go out on loan to further perfect his craft.
"I'm hoping to go back and have a really good pre-season, I feel ready," he said.
"All my efforts will be going in to getting into the team for the first game of the season.
"If I don't make the first team the next best thing would be to go out on loan and get some league experience and stake my claim that way.
"A loan is something I'm open to – I want to play competitive league football and play for points.
"If I do well on loan, then the manager might take notice."