SHAUN Hutchinson is impressed with Millwall’s transfer business – after his former Fulham team-mate Ryan Tunnicliffe became Neil Harris’ seventh signing this summer.
The Lions could still add a goalkeeper and attacker to their squad before August 31, but Harris completed his priority business a week before the start of the season.
Five of the seven signings arrived in time for the mid-July training trip to Portugal, and Hutchinson feels it was important to recruit early in the summer.
Hutchinson has also been reunited with Jake Cooper, the pair playing together in the centre of defence in the second half of the 3-0 win over Granada last Saturday.
“I think he’s a great signing,” Hutchinson said. “With him being here last season it makes it easier to settle in. It feels like he’s never been away. He did really well last year.
“He’s done it before, he knows what it’s all about and you don’t get that time where he needs a few weeks to settle. He knows what we’re all about.
“Teams like Fulham have got a bit of money and can splash the cash last minute. Generally some players wait until the last day to see what move is the best they can get.
“If that is us done I think we’ve got a good squad. If he does need to bring someone else in he’s got a bit of time. But it’s probably the best way forward to get it all done as soon as possible.”
Hutchinson believes Millwall have got a good deal with Tunnicliffe, who joined on a free transfer after his contract with Fulham expired at the end of last season.
“On a free that’s really good business,” Hutchinson insisted. “He is a Millwall player, he’ll give his all and get stuck in and be a great addition to the squad.
“I’m looking forward to saying ‘hi’ to him and seeing how he is.”
Meanwhile, Hutchinson is hoping to steer clear of injury this season. He started just 19 games in the last campaign, but showed his worth with outstanding performances in the Lions’ last four games when they clinched a play-off place and then won promotion at Wembley.
Hutchinson is set to start against Nottingham Forest on Friday, but understands why Harris said places were still up for grabs after he named the XI to face Granada.
“You want to get as much game time as possible, but he said quite a few times in the dressing room that the places weren’t secure, it’s up to us to perform if we want to be in there,” Hutchinson added.
“If you’re on the bench and want to play, then come off the bench and prove you should be starting.
“If that’s the team I’m delighted, but he’s got a decision to make. It’s the first game of the season, and three points is the main thing for him. He’ll do whatever is best to make sure of the three points.
“I’ve had a pretty solid pre-season, no niggles, and I’m looking forward to the season. I’m feeling good. It’s been a big change from last year. The big thing is to play as often as you can and keep yourself injury-free.
“I want to play as many games as possible and stay in the team. You hear things like Millwall will be aiming for fourth bottom, but we really are looking to mid-table to establish ourselves.
“We don’t want to leave it until the last day, surviving by one point.
“There’s no denying it’s going to be a really tough challenge, it’s a step-up. Teams will try to play out from the back and the physical aspect will be a bit higher.
“We’re up for the battle, we’ve got boys who are raring to go and who are excited. We believe we can establish ourselves in this league.
“It does help having experienced it. As a team we need to prepare ourselves for times when we are hanging on or struggling. We will need to stick together and I think that’s what we have in the dressing room. There is good unity and there’s a good bond between the lads which will help us.”
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