GARY Rowett will give players the chance to prove their worth to Millwall – but said there could be “casualties” in the next transfer window.
The Lions currently have a squad of 23 senior players, including loanees Luke Steele, Ryan Woods, Mason Bennett and Jayson Molumby.
Given the club’s budget the squad is unlikely to increase from that number next season.
But though Rowett, who took charge of his first game at the end of October, is not rushing to judge players, he admitted there will be some “big decisions” to be made.
“I think anyone can grab a chance up until any game in the season,” Rowett said. “What I’d say is if you want to shape the team moving forward, sometimes there has to be casualties.
“When the bar is raised and the standards lifted by the players, some players will get up to that standard and some players might not.
“I think it’s difficult to judge that in the four months we’ve been here, we’ve got another two or three months left of the season. It’s quite hard to make those decisions early on but I think you always have a little bit of an idea.
“A lot of it comes down to budget. If you’ve got a bigger budget then you can house two or three players extra. If it’s a really tight budget then the only way you can change it is to make big decisions along the way.”
The Lions boss was asked by NewsAtDen this week how many windows it would take to create a 'Gary Rowett team'.
“I’ve had this question before and it’s a difficult one,” he said. “When you win a game, you laud the players and take all the plaudits, then when you lose you can’t say, ‘well, it’s going to take three, four windows’. I think that’s a bit of an excuse.
“It’s a Gary Rowett team now. We’re working with the players, and they’re working incredibly hard to be a good team consistently.
“You obviously need time, which as we know in this game you don’t tend to get very often. It gets built over a period of windows. When you’re not going to go out and buy players for ridiculous money then you have to slowly add to your squad.
“We added a couple in the last window, we might be able to add a couple more in the summer and so on and so forth.
“I think there’s no excuse, we should be able to challenge at the top end of the league. But every now and then we’re going to see perhaps reasons why we’re going to need a little bit longer to get those performances more consistent.
“We’ve shown in spells we can do it. We’re having a go and doing what we can, and we’re enjoying the process and the challenge.”
Image: Millwall FC