A season-ending injury for Tom Bradshaw is set to change Millwall’s transfer plans in January.
Bradshaw, 26, had surgery this week on a torn ACL in his knee, an injury he suffered against Brentford on November 3 and with a recovery time generally of between six and nine months.
The injury is similar to the one that ended Byron Webster’s season in September 2017. Centre-back Webster returned to full training in the last week of the season in May. He didn’t make a competitive senior appearance in almost 11 months, though that included the closed season.
Millwall hope Bradshaw will be available to start pre-season training next June, which would be around seven months after his operation.
Bradshaw joined Millwall on a club-record deal from Barnsley in August and made 10 appearances this season, though only two were starts.
Millwall boss Neil Harris now has three senior strikers and his current first-team squad has been reduced to 21.
It remains to be seen if this changes the situation with Fred Onyedinma, who is on loan with Wycombe until January 1, but who has hinted he would be open to extending that arrangement to continue playing regularly. If he returns to Millwall he will be fourth-choice striker, a position he is not willing to accept.
Harris also has the option of using Aiden O’Brien up front. He scored on his Republic of Ireland debut playing as a lone striker against Poland in September.
Millwall have yet to sign a player on a permanent deal in January since Harris has been boss, so the loan and free-agent markets are likely to be scoured for a forward.
The current list of free transfers includes the likes of Darren Bent, but Harris will be careful not to upset the unity of the squad or the balance of his forward line. If Millwall do try to recruit a striker in January, it will be someone to play off a target man.
Ironically, it was only last month that Harris said he didn’t expect much movement in January, but warned it was “early days”. He added: “January for the last three years has been tough. The summer window was by far the toughest one for me in my time in charge.
“Do I expect January to be easier? Well I hope so. But no I don’t expect it to be easy because it’s always a difficult window.”
Bradshaw’s injury has added another degree of difficulty, with the Lions now desperately in need of back-up for Lee Gregory.
Image: Millwall FC