MILLWALL boss Neil Harris insists Nottingham Forest are under “massive pressure” ahead of the sides’ season-opening clash on Friday night.
Forest, who finished 21st last season and avoided relegation on goal difference, splashed out almost £2million on striker Daryl Murphy this summer – more than Millwall spent recruiting seven players.
Forest also have most of the £15million they received from Middlesbrough for Britt Assombalonga in the bank, and their summer spending is unlikely to be over.
Harris feels that means the expectation will be on Mark Warburton’s side at the City Ground.
“Forest need to beat us, really,” Harris said. “They are under massive pressure. They’ve spent money over the summer, they've got a big squad, there are players on big wages – they’re expected to roll us over on Friday night.”
Millwall completed the permanent signings of Jake Cooper and Ryan Tunnicliffe last weekend, and Harris explained the transfer policy this close season was to recruit players with “something to prove”.
“What I’ve done is try to recruit players who have played a certain amount of football at this level, but also, gone for players who are really hungry to prove themselves in the Championship,” he explained.
“And I think that’s key. I’ve got a group of players that played about 60 games last year and similarly the year before. They've earned the right to play at this level. I’ve brought players in who have the same mentality as our dressing room, same work ethic, same personality with some good lads.
“And they've all got something to prove.”
Despite Millwall's spending being far less than most others' in the division, Harris believes his club is "great at being an underdog".
"It’s a tough league, a really expensive league," Harris said. "You only have to look at the press daily, [Monday] it was Wolves bidding for Andre Gray at Burnley. That’s quite surreal given he was one of the best strikers in the Premier League last season, certainly on the counter-attack.
"Middlesbrough spending over £40million just shows where the game is at at the moment, football has gone crazy over the summer.
"We feel we have added wisely as a club. For us as a football club we’ve spent quite a lot of money over the summer but it’s dwarfed by every other club.
"It’s an exciting division, the knock-on of TV revenues, of the foreign influx of players and managers has meant that Premier League players are now performing in the top half of the Championship. That’s the way it is.
"So teams coming up, like Bolton and ourselves, Burton and Barnsley last year, it makes it even more difficult to challenge.
"Millwall is great at being an underdog. This year in the majority of games we’ll certainly be seen as that. But we’ll surprise a few sides."
Image: Millwall FC