SHAUN Hutchinson wants to help make Millwall “an established Championship side”.
The Lions are back in the second tier after two seasons in League One and begin their campaign with a trip to Nottingham Forest on the opening day.
Hutchinson dropped a division last summer to join Millwall and aid an anticipated promotion bid, and having achieved that he wants to reach the next objective.
“The challenge is to make Millwall an established Championship side,” Hutchinson said. “I’m not going to say top six is our aim and that if we’re not in the top six come the end of the season we’re going to be raging.
“We know our targets. Our budget is a little lower and it’s going to be difficult. But we’re going to do everything we can to get established and comfortable in the Championship.
“I won't say our aim is fourth bottom, we want to be mid-table and secure, not to be hanging on up to the last game of the season.
“As much as finishing fourth bottom would mean staying in the Championship, I’d still be disappointed with that.
“We don’t want to spend the whole season around the bottom four, no one wants that.
“Last season was a great experience, but the reason I came to Millwall was to get promoted to the Championship. I’m here and this is where I wanted to be.
“For me it was great but it’s not as if, ‘right, that’s me done, I’m happy now’. I’m not, this is where I want to play and we all know that it’s going to be much harder to even stay in this league than it was last season to get promoted.
“You celebrate for a little while before reality hits. You don’t want to sit and be happy with what you’ve done in the past, you have to realise you’re where you expected to be and then get on with it.”
Lions boss Neil Harris has recruited six players so far this summer, but at a fraction of the outlay of some of the clubs in the division including Middlesbrough, who have so far splashed out over £30milion on new signings.
But other clubs’ spending power doesn’t worry former Fulham defender Hutchinson.
He said: “I’ve seen teams who’ve spent five or 10 million pounds on players in the past and they haven’t hit the ground running or done well. It doesn’t mean too much. Look at Huddersfield last year, I’m pretty sure their budget was low.
“You see as many flops that cost 10 million as you see that cost 10 grand. At the end of the day it’s 11 against 11 and you’ve got to play to your strengths and do whatever you can to get results. I’m pretty sure come the start of the season the gaffer will have us as ready as we can be.”
Hutchinson is also confident Millwall’s new boys will make an impact next season.
“I’m pretty sure they’re going to thrive in it,” he said. “They don’t want to be in awe of the Championship, they want to show that they can do well and push themselves to succeed at this level. That’s only going to make us improve as a team.
“Everyone is going to relish being up in a higher division and after a couple of games they’re going to see what it’s like. They’ll cope with it pretty well.
“Since the gaffer became a manager he’s done very well, his record in League One was exceptional. I’m sure he’s just like everyone else, he’s coming into this league wanting to show he’s good enough and can pick the players that are good enough and trust him.
“Going on what he’s done in the past I’m sure it’s going to be good.”
Image: Millwall FC