BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ryan Leonard’s focus is purely on football – not his long-term future – as Millwall head back into Championship combat this weekend.
The Lions resume league action at struggling Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow.
And Leonard says the fight for points is all that he is concerned about.
The club-record signing’s existing deal runs out at the end of June – just like Tom Bradshaw, who joined in the same transfer window in the summer of 2018, and last season’s top-scorer Matt Smith.
“I’m out of contract at the end of the season – I’m sure a few players are,” said Leonard, who has been an ever-present in the Championship this season.
“I’m just keeping my head down.
“For me the main thing is to be playing games, trying to do well and perform. I want to play well for myself and for the football club.”
The tenacious former Southend United, Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield United midfielder is only two matches away from 350 senior appearances.
“I had no idea about being on that number,” said Leonard. “It’s nice to be close to a decent milestone. I’m still only 28 and feel I’ve hopefully got quite a few years to go. And I want to keep improving.
“Last season was a frustrating one for me. I had a couple of bad injuries. I tore my lateral knee ligament against Leeds [on October 5, 2019] and then the day before I was going to start training I tore it again. It was a double whammy. It took out a lot of my season but I managed to get a few games after lockdown. Now I’m 100 per cent healthy and fit.
“The fact we didn’t have a lot of a pre-season probably helped me. I didn’t want the break because of the time I’d been sidelined.
“It’s nice to have started the season in the gaffer’s thoughts and I want to keep that going.
“We’ve got a good squad. Most of the players can come in and play as well as those already in the team. The boys who are in there know they need to be at it.”
Millwall suffered their first Championship loss of the season before the international break – a
2-1 reverse at Swansea City. The SE16 outfit are 11th in the embryonic standings with five points from four fixtures.
“We’ve been slightly inconsistent,” said Leonard. “We’ve played well at times but not really put it together as we’d like.
“We’ve not shown what we know we can produce but have still picked up a few results. It’s not a good start or a bad start – but that’s something we’ll be looking to put right in the coming weeks.
“If you knew why that was [the inconsistency] it would be an easy game. We need to keep working hard on the training ground and be better at what we want to do.
“The gaffer is getting across his ideas and we’re working on them. It’s a tight-knit group of lads and I think most of us wished we’d had a game on the Tuesday to get straight back out there to try and put it right.
“We know what we need to do this weekend and we’re chomping at the bit. Training has been really sharp the last week or so.
“We sat down and looked at what we did wrong and what we could do better. Saturday is a good occasion for us to put right what we didn’t do.”
PICTURES: BRIAN TONKS
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