JIRI Skalak knew Millwall wanted to sign him in January – and then followed with interest their charge for the play-offs wishing he was part of the side.
Millwall enquired about the Czech Republic international at the beginning of the year but were told by Brighton he wasn’t available.
Skalak, 26, then started in the Seagulls' 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the end of January, when he picked up an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for two months.
Millwall signed Ben Marshall on loan from Wolves and went 17 games unbeaten in the league, before finishing just three points off the top six.
Skalak had featured just twice for Brighton last season before January, both EFL Cup appearances, after being a regular in the promotion-winning side the previous campaign.
“I knew in January but I didn’t speak with Millwall because Brighton said no,” Skalak told NewsAtDen. “It was impossible. They said I would get a chance in the FA Cup and I did but afterwards I got injured.
“I was ready to leave in January but when Brighton said they wanted me I could do nothing.
“I knew about Hull [this summer], they spoke with my agent. There were some clubs interested from the Czech Republic but I didn’t want to go there. There were also some European clubs but I said I would love to stay in England and fight here.”
Skalak eventually joined Millwall this summer on a permanent deal, and is excited about being part of a side he is familiar with.
“I watched them every game [after knowing of the Lions’ interest] and it was so nice to see them win,” he said. “It was 17 games without losing, it was unbelievable. I was thinking maybe if I was in this team I would play well.
“But that’s life and football and I hope for the same now.”
Skalak made his debut in the 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough on Saturday, and enjoyed the experience despite the concession of two late goals.
He said: “For me it was really nice before the game, the fans welcomed me. The game was really good but the end was unlucky, I’m so sad we didn’t win because we absolutely deserved it.
“Now we must work hard and get the next three points because the last game was just unlucky.”
Image: Millwall FC