Defender Hutch wants to give Millwall boss 'head-scratching' problem this season

SHAUN Hutchinson revealed there is plenty of optimism in the Millwall camp ahead of the new season, particularly after the summer transfer business.

Neil Harris has so far brought in seven new players in the biggest squad rebuilding exercise since he took charge over five years ago.

Hutchinson also wants to give Harris a selection problem this season, with four centre-backs competing for two spots.

“Especially with signings the manager has brought in we’re really looking forward to the season,” Hutchinson said. “A lot of the boys are optimistic about the season, looking at what we’ve got we’re pretty happy and one or two more might come through the door.

“Last season was a bit of a struggle and we’re looking forward to putting that right.

“The most we can do with everybody competing for places is that when the gaffer goes to bed on a Friday he’s scratching his head because he doesn’t know who to play.

“That’s all we can do and put in the best shift in pre-season. It’s down to him from there.

“It’s been a breath of fresh air, the tempo in training has gone up, the expectation has gone up and there’s a lot as a team and staff that we’re not accepting anymore.

“We’re making sure we’re on it this year.”

Hutchinson was a team-mate of one of the new signings, Matt Smith, at Fulham.

He added: “I’ve played with Matt Smith before, trained with him and played against him. He is a handful, we’ve just got to make sure he’s getting the supply. As long as he’s getting that he can bang in a lot of goals for you.

"Jon Dadi [Bodvarsson] coming in as well, he’s an all-rounder, can do a bit of everything. It takes a while to gel and you might not see the best of them straightaway but after a couple of games you’ll see why the gaffer signed them.

“A few names get popped around the dressing room, you hear some names [linked] but it’s just a load of nonsense. Until they walk through that door and you shake their hand I don’t really look into it.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (right) is a good 'all-rounder'

“I think so far there’s been some good players brought in. We’re looking forward to seeing how the season goes.

"It’s hard to tell exactly where we’re at because we’ve had a lot of new players coming in. We need to definitely improve on last year, but not get carried away and expect to produce the eighth position again.

“We certainly believe we’re strong enough to be minimum mid-table and push on. Once the season starts you get to see where you stand.

“I believe we’ve got off to a good start in pre-season and we’re in a better place now than where we were last year. That’s a big positive.”

Hutchinson played in the 2-1 defeat at Southend United on Wednesday evening.

“It was my first 90, I’m happy where I am fitness-wise,” Hutchinson said. “I felt like I had a bit more in the tank towards the end of the game, which is a good place to be pre-season.

“A lot of the technical stuff comes with playing games. I had a few health things going on [last season]. Stomach bugs and all these kinds of things and it knocked me out for a little bit.

“I had a good summer and got myself pretty fit in the off-season and I feel I’m where I’d like to be.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly