Millwall squad 'preparing intensely' for Easter clashes against Nottingham Forest and Ipswich

MILLWALL'S players being given time off last week wasn't reward for recent efforts – it was about gearing up for the final eight games of the season.

With a number of players carrying knocks and seven on international duty, there would have been just nine senior squad members available to train last week.

The majority of the first-team squad got four days off after the 2-0 win at Barnsley before the international break.

Tim Cahill and James Meredith are with Australia for their friendly against Colombia at Craven Cottage on Tuesday evening.

Goalkeeper Jordan Archer will be the last to return after Scotland's game in Hungary, and he won't be back in training with the Lions until Thursday, a day before their Good Friday clash with Nottingham Forest at The Den.

Millwall are preparing to face Forest and then Ipswich three days later.

"We've got seven important players away until the middle of the week on international duty," Harris said. "It's about what's best between now and Friday, how many sessions they need, what sessions they need.

"It's not about reward, it's about what's needed for the players to be in the best possible condition from now until the start of May.

"They've had a brilliant run of results, they're in great form and the spirit in the group is excellent. Sometimes they need time away from each other, sometimes they need time away from me. And they certainly need time away from the training ground.

"They come back ready to work, with a mentality and attitude that they are on fire. They will come in laughing and joking but to work really hard. They will be preparing intensely for the games against Forest and Ipswich."

Meanwhile, Shaun Williams was disappointed not to be picked in the Republic of Ireland squad for their friendly with Turkey last Friday, but the midfielder was glad of the opportunity to rest before the final intense part of the season.

He said: "It was a time to recharge the batteries before going again for the last eight games. It's nice to have that time, we get extra time with the families. The manager is brilliant in that sense."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly