BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Gary Rowett has revealed that Millwall saw a move for an overseas signing fail to come off before Monday’s transfer deadline.
The Lions can still do domestic deals until next Friday with Premier League clubs also able to sign from below England’s top tier until that cut off.
Rowett has yet to spend a transfer fee since he succeeded Neil Harris in October. The Lions have made four signings with three of those loans in Troy Parrott, Scott Malone and Ryan Woods. The only permanent switch was Mason Bennett from Derby County and that only involves performance-related payments.
“We can still take players from the Premier League but they can’t take any players from abroad – which limits 95 per cent of their market,” said Rowett. “That then means they are slightly less reluctant to let players out.
“That’s probably why it has been such a difficult market.
“I think there were only eight or nine deals done on the transfer deadline day that expired recently. It shows you the way the market is stuck or in a flux.
“It will be interesting to see the volume of what is done over the next week.”
The challenge for Millwall is that they don’t have the same financial spending power as many clubs in the Championship.
Despite that they finished eighth last season.
But Troy Parrott – brought in from Tottenham to add extra teeth to the Lions attack – has been missing with a quad strain and then damaged ankle ligaments on his debut against Burnley in the EFL Cup.
“We were quite close to one or two things in Europe over the past week but those didn’t quite materialise,” said Rowett. “I’m always conscious deals have to be right for the club and you have to be brave enough to let them go, even if it is something of interest to us.
“The challenge is the same. What we can’t do is bring any player into the group who just gives us more numbers. For every player you bring in then one or two become demotivated and not in the squad.
“It’s a difficult balance and every manager is in the same situation. We’ll try and see if there are one or two areas we can still strengthen, but I only want to do that if it makes us better.
“There is always a clamour to make things better in peoples’ eyes, because of the way the transfer window works there is such real excitement about it. That applies to the fans but even players presume and expect people to come in.
“If you think about it there are players who are not getting in our side that the club paid almost £1million-plus for them. Sometimes it is about getting the best out of what we have.
“I don’t want to spend money that is not going to advance us to the next level and be stuck with those players for the next three or four years. I don’t see the benefit of that.
“We’ll try and be selective in what we do, but at the same time it isn’t an easy market.”
Millwall suffered their first Championship reverse of the season when they lost 2-1 at Swansea last weekend.
The Lions are 11th after four matches heading into the international break.
“I’ve been really pleased with the three cup performances,” said Rowett.
“And in the league we have played three of the teams who are expected to be up there – I don’t think there has been anything between us.
“If you’d asked me to assess the start after the Brentford game [a 1-1 draw] I would have been really, really pleased. But because I’m assessing it after Swansea – and we have conceded two poor goals – I’m a little more disappointed.
“But it’s been a reasonably similar start to how we were last year. We’ve looked a good, solid and consistent team – but can we convert that performance into more goals? It’s as simple as that.
“We’ve scored three goals, which looks a poor total, but they are all from open play. Last season we struggled to score goals from open play, at all.
“So if we can add some set-piece goals and other elements to our game then I don’t think we’ll be too far away.
“It’s been an okay start. But I’d rather gauge it after 10, 15 or 20 matches. We came in after 15 games last season – there is an awful long way to go in this Championship season.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.