Millwall manager on whether youngsters are ready to step up to first team amid injury crisis

MILLWALL have been forced to draft a number of under-23s into senior training this week – but Lions boss Neil Harris is unsure if they are ready for their debuts.

Lewis White, 19, was on the bench at Bristol City last Sunday but has yet to make his first-team debut.

Millwall could be without all five of their senior strikers for the visit of Hull City to The Den, though Harris is hopeful Steve Morison and Lee Gregory will be available.

Jed Wallace was pressed into a striker role at Ashton Gate after Aiden O’Brien was stretchered off, and there are a number of attackers who haven’t been able to train ahead of the Hull clash.

Harris has given academy graduates Fred Onyedinma, Mahlon Romeo, James Brown and Tom King their debuts in senior competitive football, and Ben Thompson his league debut.

“Harry Donovan is training with the squad. James Brown, albeit we’re not short defensively, is a super player and has experience of league football,” Harris said.

“Lewis White was on the bench last weekend, though not quite ready to come in regularly and make his mark.

“Until you give a player an opportunity on the pitch you just don’t know. With the young lads, who knows?

“I’ve done it over the years, I’ve put young lads in and given them their chance. The majority of the time they’ve grabbed it and forced their way into the group. It might be the case at the weekend where we look at the young players and give them the opportunity.

“I think what’s clear this week more so than ever is we take one day at a time. The scenario can change. We might not have a centre-forward available at the weekend, or we might have two.

“Lee is another one where there is no real clarity at the moment. His one is a stomach muscle injury which is untreatable because of the area. It’s one that has to just heal.

“If it’s a matter of pain threshold Lee will try to be fit for Saturday. But it could be a couple of weeks.

“We won’t know until later this week.

“Steve again can’t train this week. He had a hamstring problem last week but got out on the pitch. Can he do that again? We’ll have to see, we really don’t know.

“Tom [Elliott] is 6ft 4ins-and-a-half and when he strains his hamstring, he strains his hamstring. He’s not training and we’ll have to see how he progresses.

“I’ve got a treatment room full of centre-forwards at the moment.

“There could be a change of shape, possibly. We have to find a way if there are not many options. We have wide players and players with ability on the ball and we’ve had to find a different avenue to go.”

Meanwhile, the club have yet to decide whether Jem Karacan, who made his league debut last weekend, will be given a contract until next summer. His current deal ends in January.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly