BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall manager Neil Harris has outlined the pre-season plans – and admits he will not be majorly deviating from his build-up over the past three summers.
The Lions report back from their breaks on June 25 with their first pre-season friendly at Dartford on July 7 (1pm kick off).
Harris said: “I’m a big believer in sticking to a pattern and a structure which has brought us continuity and success over the last few years.
“Stability is key within a football club and that’s even when you’re organising pre-season and squads.
“There will be a different make-up of fixtures this year, but the structure will be the same.
“We’re in the end of June, we’re training hard. Dartford will be our first game. It’s important to us because it is a local game that gives a first opportunity for our fans to see our players.
“Yes, it’s only a couple of months’ break since the last game but the fans get excited and want to see the team.
“The last couple of years it has been really competitive. The result doesn’t matter, it’s just about the players getting some minutes on the pitch. It’s a great location. I know the new manager Adam Flanagan well.
“It’s great for us to go there and carry on building that connection and relationship with Dartford.
“After that we’ll play behind closed doors and then go to Portugal with the players for a week, which is invaluable.
“It’s one of the most important weeks of the season for me. Not only do I get to spend day in and day out with them – getting to learn and understand them a lot more – but we get valuable time to do some work; not just in training and games but also in the classroom. The video work is key to us.
“We’ll have new players on board and it’s also gentle reminders to everybody else.
“In Portugal we’ll play an English opposition and we’ll play foreign opposition, as we have done the past couple of years. That gives you one helter-skelter game against the English one and then one where you get to work on your defensive shape and chase the ball.
“We come back and we’ll play lower league opposition – travelling-distance for the fans to get to – before finishing with Jimmy Abdou’s testimonial on July 28.”
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