Millwall boss hoping to make permanent striker signing in summer transfer window – but key is to lower age of his playing squad


Millwall manager Gary Rowett has set his sights on signing a striker on a permanent basis in the summer transfer window.

The Lions took West Brom’s Kenneth Zohore and Tottenham’s Troy Parrott on loan this season.

Zohore’s time in SE16 has been badly disrupted by injuries while Parrott struggled to make an impact before he was recalled and sent out on loan to Ipswich Town in League One.

Jed Wallace is the only Lions player to reach double figures this season.

Zohore has netted twice in 17 outings – 10 of those starts.

“What you see with loans, in some ways, is that you are only really taking them if you can’t find a permanent solution for a position,” said Rowett.

“Often with loans they are a bit more financially viable, you can get a loan player that you can’t get permanently. Normally that comes with the caveat that they are either young or they have been around the block and are trying to get going again.

“This summer I am particularly keen to bring our own young players in to lower the age of the squad a little bit. That is my primary aim. But then you start looking at recruitment, and it is never that simple.

“We’re certainly going to try in the striker role [to do a permanent deal]. But that position is the most obvious in terms of giving you someone you might not have been able to afford. If Ken had stayed fit we would have seen that scenario play out and the benefits of that.

“We are looking for that improvement, but have we got time to develop a striker into what we want? It is quite difficult to do that in a competitive Championship environment. You need them to have that impact.

“I don’t think we’re set in any one way of doing it. We’re just trying to get the best possible player we can generally. Whatever looks right, that’s what we’ll try and do. It is quite hard to be too specific. Every club in the league would say they would rather get a permanent player. There is a finite number of forward players with the qualities you desire and that you can afford. Therefore the loan market becomes an option.

“I don’t think anyone wants to use the loan market all the time otherwise every season you are having to rebuild the squad again. You want a settled version of the squad and just to improve on it.”

Ben Thompson is set to be back in Millwall’s squad for their final home game against Bristol City tomorrow.

Rowett did not use Ryan Woods in the 1-0 loss at Watford. The midfielder still has 12 months to run on his Stoke contract.

“I’d said previously I need to look at one or two things, and I needed to look at what Maikel [Kieftenbeld] and Billy [Mitchell] looked like together as a pairing,” explained Rowett.

“There’s no guarantee Woodsy will be here next season. Scott Malone is a different scenario – he is out of contract.

“I’ll sit down with Woodsy over the next week and have a general conversation about where he sees his future. I could say I want to keep Ryan and Stoke could say otherwise, so there is no point getting into that at this stage.

“It doesn’t mean to say anyone who might not be here won’t play. It was a good, stern test for Maikel and Billy against Watford.”

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