NEIL Harris says competition for places in the Millwall starting XI is intense ahead of Tuesday night’s clash with Scunthorpe at The Den.
The Lions could go into a season-high position of fifth in Sky Bet League One with a win, but Harris also warned they will face a side with the “shackles” off.
Scunthorpe have won three games in a row under caretaker bosses Nick Daws and Andy Dawson since the sacking of Mark Robins in January.
“I think you see a group of players playing for two guys in charge that they obviously like,” Harris said. “Sometimes the shackles come off when you change the manager. No disrespect to Mark Robins but sometimes the pressure goes and you can go out and play a little bit.
“We’ve watched their previous games and there hasn’t been a lot in them, as tends to be the case at this level. Set-pieces have been key for them and they certainly work hard.”
Mark Beevers comes back into the Millwall squad for the clash against the Iron, though Shaun Williams is suspended. Carlos Edwards, Shane Ferguson, Aiden O’Brien and Ben Thompson are also in contention to come back into the side with potential defensive and midfield reshuffles.
Millwall are on a six-game unbeaten run in the league since the 2-1 defeat at Barnsley on January 2, and Harris says three successive away wins has boosted confidence within the squad.
“We’ve got good belief after the weekend and after Walsall and Oxford,” Harris said. “It gives us belief and it means happy players. I think having a small, competitive squad helps.
“We’ve got options to bring people back in. We’ve got some good experience available again. They all want to play. Competition for places is rife because people want to play in a winning team.”
Harris altered his formation from his preferred 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 when the two sides drew 0-0 at Glanford Park in August, and the Lions boss said he could do the same again.
“It was a change of shape for us to combat them a little bit, but also to look at us in a different shape because it was early on (in the season),” Harris explained. “It was searching for a formula and giving personnel the opportunity to impress. Certainly a change of shape comes into our thinking again because of the way they play.
“We’ve got the players to come in in a change things if needs be. We’ve been quite settled for a while and everyone knows their jobs and responsibilities. That makes life a lot easier.”