BY RICHARD CAWLEY email@example.com
Neil Harris has given more detail on his plans for the January transfer window – admitting he wants to bring in an experienced defender.
The Lions added know-how 12 months ago when they brought Tim Cahill back to SE16 and also signed centre-back Jason Shackell on a short-term deal from Derby.
“We certainly need to strengthen at the back with a little bit of experience,” said Harris. “And we need to bring in at least one more attacking player to keep competition for places.
“We’ve seen in the last couple of years that a couple of injuries have left us really short either in the team or on the bench. We lack a little bit of experience at the back and an attacking threat going forward.”
The biggest success in the last January window – from a playing impact perspective – was Ben Marshall.
The Lions were very keen to secure the winger on a permanent deal, only for Norwich City to nip in with a much bigger financial offer before this season started.
“Marshall was 26 but he had played 300 games in the Championship,” said Harris. “So with him, Jason and Timmy we had three extremely experienced players at this level and above.
They added to the group hugely. We need to bring some experience back into the group – that will be our aim in January and that is not necessarily to bring them in to replace what we have got.
“It’s about coming in to help the group and add to the group – to add personality and an injection into training, fresh faces to push people on. We certainly need a competitive squad for the second half of this season and to push us during the winter months of January and February.
“First and foremost the players out on loan become key because there is an opportunity to recall them if we want to – depending on where we are at positionally and form-wise.
It’s also about where they are as well. It’s whether we leave them there for a little bit or call them back for a little bit and then maybe send them out again.”
Fred Onyedinma’s loan at Wycombe Wanderers is up at the start of next month. A season-ending injury to Tom Bradshaw could see the 22-year-old brought back to South London.
Ben Thompson has been winning rave reviews at League One leaders Portsmouth – although the midfielder was sent off late on in their 2-1 home loss to Charlton on Tuesday.
Harris has opted not to comment on referee John Brooks’ decision to show a straight red card.
If Pompey fail with an appeal to overturn the dismissal then Thompson will not be available again until December 29.
Millwall’s injury list is abating with only Shaun Williams (ankle ligaments) and Bradshaw (knee) out.
The Lions face a Preston North End side tomorrow who are fourth in the form table over the last 10 games. Their 19-point haul is only bettered by Norwich (25), Derby and Leeds (both 20).
“Preston is a tough place to play,” said Harris. “Alex Neil has turned their fortunes around because they were bottom of the league six or seven weeks ago.
“They are a very organised side who press the ball very well and have got some dangerous players. People say we are on a barren run but we have two draws in a row and are trying to get an unbeaten run going.”
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