MillwallSport

Millwall seal deal for Wolves keeper Matija Sarkic – a transfer which could also end up seeing a stopper exit before window closes

Gary Rowett has credited Millwall goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall for helping them land goalkeeper Matija Sarkic from Wolves.

The 26-year-old shotstopper has signed a long-term deal with the Lions and moves for a fee in excess of seven figures.

Sarkic is in line to make his debut in Saturday’s Championship opener at Middlesbrough.

He has worked with Marshall, a former Millwall keeper himself, at Aston Villa and also Birmingham City, where he had a loan spell.

Lions boss Gary Rowett told the South London Press: “Matty has worked with Marshy very closely at different clubs, the last of which was Birmingham – where he had a very strong loan.

“Marshy was crucial (in terms of input on Sarkic) because he has got a good relationship with him and known him since he was a young player.

“It’s important you have that trust, it helps a player settle and to come to your club when they know some of the people and what that level looks like.

“It’s such a specific position that there is a level of trust there because you’re working so closely with that person. It’s a big factor and one that helped us get the deal done.

“He is a very good all-round keeper. He’s a good kicker, a good size and we think he is a very good player for the future for us.

“He’s a great age for a keeper and got good Championship experience – he is ready for that chance to play regular football and build that game time, which he sort of did at Stoke and Birmingham on loan.

“He will complement and add to what we’ve already got here. That’s the key. We’re always looking to strengthen our squad and options. He is a player that can help us become better as a team as well.”

Sarkic’s arrival leaves Millwall with three senior goalkeepers.

George Long had been first-choice and is at a stage of his career where the former Hull City and Sheffield United player will probably be looking to secure first-team football.

The question is how many spots there are for the 29-year-old to make a move before the transfer deadline.

Bart Bialkowski turned 36 in July and the veteran is likely to be the one who drops off the bench.

Asked about if he expected a departute from that department of his squad, Rowett said:  “The expectation is that there is probably going to be opportunities for one of those keepers, where teams will look and say: ‘They’ve got one too many’. It depends where those players see themselves.

“We’re open minded with that, we have to be. But the first thought was that if we have an opportunity to strengthen an area in some way then the first thing we do is try and get that player in. What that does further down the line is a different conversation.

“We have probably got big numbers there, so we’d have to look at an opportunity, should one arise, if a keeper doesn’t want to be number two or number three, whatever it might be. It’s a difficult question to answer. It’s more a case we appreciate that might mean someone is less than happy with less opportunities.”

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