Harris not thinking of 2010 as Millwall focus on Gillingham

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris said the message to his Millwall players won’t change just because they have confirmed their place in the top six this season.

The Lions could face Bradford, Barnsley or Scunthorpe in a play-off semi-final first leg on Saturday or Sunday week, depending on the outcomes in the last round of fixtures.

But Harris stressed the focus is on the clash with the Gills and trying to secure third place in League One.

“We don’t get too high or too low,” Harris said. “I’ve been very mindful of that this season, and it’s certainly something that the players have to deal with.

“We’ve won three games on the spin and we’re confident at the moment. The boys are really enjoying coming to work, and that’s key.

“We’re guaranteed a play-off place but nothing will change for us, it’ll be exactly the same pattern to training, the same structure. We’re methodical in our planning, giving boys time to recover from games with half-sessions and we focus diligently on the opposition as we always do.

“There won’t be any different messages from staff to players and the players will go out on Sunday knowing how much I want to win the game. There will be no mixed messages.”

The current side’s record in 2016 is similar to Kenny Jackett’s squad’s form after the turn of the year in 2010 when they rose from ninth in the table to finish third to set up a semi-final against Huddersfield.

Millwall were also ninth on New Year’s Day this season and have won 13 games this year so far, with five draws and four defeats. In the same period in 2010, the side won 15 games, with four draws and three losses.

Harris understands why comparisons are made, but stressed he isn’t referring too much to the past.

Harris said: “Every season in football is different. There might be some similarities in patterns but the thought process is always very clear for us.

“There are always going to be similarities drawn because of my involvement and the senior players involved now and in previous play-off campaigns.

“I don’t look back too much because six years is a long time in football. Obviously you draw on experience of play-off campaigns but for me it’s about managing the group I’ve got.

“And every group is different, the one at the moment is really focussed and the spirit is outstanding. If you get to May and the boys are buzzing coming to training it’s a credit to everyone. It is a long season but it’s an enjoyable one.

“If you can make their jobs enjoyable you get the rewards every day and certainly on matchdays.”

John Kelly