NEIL Harris has warned his Millwall players he will not hesitate to drop them from his starting XI if performances don’t improve.
The Lions are looking for a first league win in four games and first clean sheet in eight on Saturday against a Rochdale side that are second from bottom in League One but who got their first win of the season against Fleetwood last weekend.
And Harris is looking for a similar response from his players to their Roots Hall setback that he got after the 5-1 defeat at Peterborough last month.
“I think that’s got to be the aim going into Rochdale,” he said. “We showed a lot of character coming off the back of Peterborough to beat Sheffield United with a really good performance.
“We have to do the same now. It wasn’t as bad a performance as against Peterborough but it was still a disappointing performance.
“We talk about standards a lot but we didn’t hit them in the second half against Southend. There’s a sloppiness that needs to be eradicated. Players have to realise they have to performance for 90 minutes or they will be out of the team. Young or old, they will be out of the team.”
Rochdale hadn’t won in the league until Steven Davies – who scored the winner for Bradford against Milwall in March – nodded home in the 86th minute to give Keith Hill’s side a 2-1 victory over high-flying Fleetwood.
Harris added: “We have to respond on Saturday at home against Rochdale, which will be a really difficult fixture because they are a team that can pass the ball but can go long also. They have a lot of size and presence in their team when the ball is in our box.
“We have to show a lot of character and desire and the players will have to impress me.
“Rochdale got their first victory of the season at the weekend so they’re going to have some confidence coming into the game. We’ll have a reaction, we have to be on the front foot and there has to be desire in our play and in everything we do.
“The message to the players will be loud and clear this weekend about what I expect on Saturday.”