Craig knows new boy fighting to take Millwall spot

TONY CRAIG says he welcomes competition for his place in the Millwall team – but he has no intention of giving it up without a fight.

The arrival from Fulham of Shaun Hutchinson means Millwall boss Neil Harris has four senior centre-backs competing for two spots.

Byron Webster will likely start the season as first-choice centre-back, with Hutchinson and Craig scrapping to start alongside him, and Sid Nelson, 20, in reserve.

Webster and Mark Beevers established themselves as Harris' preferred centre-back pairing in the second half of last season, but Beevers left to join Bolton this summer after his contract expired.

Craig missed six months last season through injury before being unexpectedly thrust back into the side for the play-off final against Barnsley in May after Webster injured his hamstring in the warm-up.

Lions captain Craig, 31, can also play at left-back, but Joe Martin and Shane Ferguson are the more natural options in that position.

Hutchinson said when he signed that he will be immediately targeting a place in Harris' starting XI, but Craig stressed that's nothing he hasn't faced before.

"I've had competition for my place my whole career," Craig said. "That's part and parcel of being a footballer.

"We've got four very good centre-backs here now and competition brings out the best in me. I had six months out last year which was a very, very long time. For me pre-season is big. I look forward to the competition, that's what football is all about."

Image source ©Millwall FC

John Kelly