New man impressed with quality of Millwall squad – and believes top six is realistic aim

MASON Bennett has admitted he is surprised by the quality of Millwall's squad – and insisted the top six should be a realistic aim.

Bennett appeared in the play-off final last year when Derby County lost 2-1 to Aston Villa at Wembley.

Bennett has been getting to know the squad since moving down south, including his ex-Derby team-mate and current Lions skipper Alex Pearce.

Former England youth international Bennett has been impressed with the standard in training.

"We have to aim for the play-offs, there's still a chance for us to get in there," Benett said. "I'm looking at the squad and even in the first day at training I was somewhat surprised – Derby have obviously got well-known talent and players who have done it in their careers – but I've come here and there's not much difference.

"I'm getting to know the lads personally and football-wise. [Pearce] was a great lad. He wasn't the captain there but he really looked after the young lads.

"I've come here and seen a different side to him. Hats off to him because it looks like he's doing a great job with the lads. They buzz off him and he's a great captain who was a big part of me coming here.

"We spoke before coming here, he was asking me how I was with my injury. That shows he was keen for me to come here.

Bennett has spent his entire career with Derby, this being his fifth temporary move away from a club he made his debut for at the age of 15.

The forward wants to clinch a permanent move to Gary Rowett's side in the summer, and gives an unusually frank answer to the question of whether it would be a wrench to leave the Rams.

"Not really, no," he said. " I'm at that age now where I wasn't really getting that excitement going into the training ground.

"I'm over the moon to be here and I want to get going. It's a whole new start for me.

"The lads have been great with me, welcomed me with open arms and I'm delighted for that. [Rowett] is a great man-manager. He listens to his players and he gets his tactics across really well, the lads take them on board.

"I'm delighted to be working with him again."

Bennet also knows that he has to improve his end product to earn a full-time move to south London. He hasn't scored since last May, one of three goals last season.

"I want to score goals and get assists, I want to help the team to victories," Bennett said. "I'll give 100 per cent, but I know I need to get more goals and assists.

"I did alright last season but it's time for me to kick on more."

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly