Millwall manager Gary Rowett reveals transfer thinking as January window opens

GARY Rowett would prefer Millwall to sign players on permanent deals – but isn't ruling out loan moves in the January transfer window.

Rowett wants to bolster his squad this month with the Lions raising expectations they could potentially challenge for the play-offs this season.

Millwall currently have Jayson Molumby (Brighton), Bart Bialkowski (Ipswich) and Luke Steele (Nottingham Forest) on loan. Steele, signed to cover for the injured Frank Fielding, joined until this month and Rowett expects him to return to Forest.

Molumby and Bialkowski have been big successes so far, but Rowett explained the type of deals they strike in January will depend on talks with clubs.

"It's really difficult to know that until you enter into negotiations with clubs," Rowett said. "There are two schools of thought. One is to try to bring people in to benefit the club long-term, players being signed permanently or a loan with a view to a permanent move in place so we can at least turn it into a permanent if we want. That's our priority in an ideal world.

"The second thought is are there some players out there that might be able to come in until the end of the season to give us that extra quality. You're always looking at that.

"The loan market is a good market to use in the Championship. Sometimes one or two players that you can't afford normally can give you that lift towards the end of the season.

"It's about us getting as many points as we can and finishing as high up as we possibly can. Whichever we think is the most effective way to do that then that is what we'll try to do in January."

Rowett added he won't block the route of players who want to leave for regular football, but pointed to Aiden O'Brien as an example of someone who's forced their way into the first-team reckoning.

Rowett said: "I think we're open to any scenario, really. Any player that hasn't had that much game-time, who's a first-team footballer who's played games before, it's hard to keep them without the opportunity to play games.

"In Aiden's case he's probably the one player in some ways who was really unlucky. He trained really well, but hadn't had an opportunity.

"All I ever say to players is that whatever happens we'll always be honest and try to have good conversations. I'll never stand in someone's way of playing football if it's right for them and the football club.

"At the same time sometimes players have to be patient for their opportunities and it's down to them what they do if they get one."

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly