Millwall's Leonard believes Lions could have 'deadly' new strike partnership

RYAN Leonard believes Matt Smith and Tom Bradshaw could be a handful for Championship defences this season.

New signing Smith (above) and Bradshaw, starting his first game since last November, were the front two for the opening 45 minutes against against Concord on Saturday.

The pair combined when Smith hit the crossbar early on and the former QPR striker dominated in the air in the 4-0 win for Neil Harris’ side.

Harris is in the market for at least one more striker this summer after the departures of Lee Gregory and Steve Morison.

Leonard is glad Millwall don’t have to face 6ft 6ins Smith this season, and believes Bradshaw is “like a new signing” after his recovery from knee ligament damage.

“As well as Pearcey [Alex Pearce] who was here last season, [Harris] has brought in a couple of really good lads. Whenever new players come in they bring their own aspects to training, they’re senior pros and have played numerous games in the Championship.

“It makes everyone want to work harder and impress and whenever new players come in it’s a good thing, but especially at this time.

“I think [Smith] had four chances in the first 10 minutes and hit the bar as well. If I could get [my throws] longer we’d be alright!

Ryan Leonard powers forward against Concord Rangers

“It’s nice to have Smudge, he’s shown what he’s about [Saturday], he wants to have the ball in the box. No matter what level he plays at he’s an absolute handful. He’s one of the toughest players aerially we’ve played against.

“But he can play on the floor as well, he doesn’t get enough credit, he’s got good feet. He’s going to be a good weapon this season. It’s nice to have him on your side rather than against you.

“Having Bradders back is like a new signing, he’s hit the ground running and been on fire. If he gets his fitness up as well they could be deadly up there.

“It was gutting for Bradders [to suffer the injury]. We signed at the same time so naturally just drifted together. People don’t see how hard he’s worked, throughout the summer he’s been in. When you’ve got a good group of lads like we have, when people pick up injuries then no matter what you have to try to keep them involved in the group.

“When you’re in the physio room you’re not eating together, not training together so the biggest thing is to keep their spirits high, keep them in the group. I think we have done that with Bradders and he’s come back and fit right in with the group.

“It’s nice for him to get his first 45 minutes and hopefully many more to come and he can get some goals for us this year.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly