MILLWALL boss Neil Harris has sensed a real positive shift in mood in his squad – and now he wants them to show it on the pitch.
Harris admitted the end August was a damaging period for his players and affected squad morale.
But with the transfer window closed and finally a settled squad to work with – at least until January – Harris has been able to focus fully during the international break on preparations ahead of a huge game against Leeds on Saturday.
“It’s been brilliant,” Harris said. “The boys have had the opportunity to put in some hard yards on the training pitch and take information on board. It’s been great to integrate the new boys.
“I just feel we’ve got the group back again. Hopefully Swansea was the end of a difficult couple of weeks for us when everything that could go wrong did. Maybe that last 10 minutes of the Swansea game, hopefully, was rock bottom for us.
“Now we’re on the up again. It’s the best period of training we’ve had in a long time, probably since the lead-up to Boro [on the opening day].
“It’s been really productive, and the players have had some time away from me and each other as well, which is also important. I think we all feel recharged and ready to go on Saturday.
“I was very clear after Swansea that Leeds was a great game for us. It means a lot to both sets of fans, and you’ve got one team that’s top of the league pushing for promotion and Millwall trying to find our way again, get a foothold in the league.
“It promises to be a top game.”
The game was heading for a sell-out this week, with Lions fans excited about the clash with their rivals.
“So they should as well,” Harris said. “We worked hard for two years to get into the Championship and it took us four or five months to get going.
“I don’t expect it to take four or five months this year but if it does it does. We have to embrace it and enjoy it. On paper the next run of fixtures is really tough, but that’s why we play at this level. The players in my dressing room have earned the right to be at this level, and that’s why we bought players this summer to compete in the squad.
“We know we’ve got good players, but more importantly we’ve got a good team and good spirit. When it all fits together and the mentality is right we’re a match for anybody in this league.
“That’s the message that is clear from me ahead of Saturday: on the training ground and in the changing room we’re back to our best. Now we have to transfer that back onto the pitch.”
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