What do Millwall need to do to reach the Sky Bet League 1 Promotion Play-Offs?
Millwall have had quite a poor start to the season. They currently lie in 16th place, just three points above the drop zone. After a great season last year, which ended in defeat in the play-off final, Millwall fans had hoped for more of the same after losing just five times in all competitions since January. Neil Harris has struggled to get the best out of his side so far this season and some of the players seem to lack faith in him.
For me, this lack of faith has come from one incident and one incident only. Steve Morison was set to captain the side at Wembley, before Tony Craig came into the side with Byron Webster’s injury just ten minutes before kick-off. Craig took the armband, which is said to have caused some issues in the dressing room. Not exactly what you want just before the biggest game of the season.
So, what do the Lions need to do?
First of all, it would be sensible for Neil Harris to make Steve Morison club captain over Tony Craig. Craig hasn’t been playing well at all this year, and lost the respect of some players after the Wembley issue. He doesn’t act like a leader on the pitch, whereas Morison is always organising the team, and getting people to do what they should be. He leads by example, and has also been scoring plenty of goals. Last season, whilst Craig was injured, Morison had the armband and Millwall’s record was so much better under the former Leeds man.
Millwall have players who can play decent football. Just look at the likes of Shaun Williams in midfield. The Irishman has an excellent eye for a pass, yet Harris insists on playing long ball football. Morison can’t win every header, and Gregory is only average in the air. It wouldn’t take much to adopt a simple system that keeps the ball on the floor, and to play more of a possession game. The direct style has been sussed out by teams, which is likely part of the reason why the team is struggling so much.
The South London club could also do with bringing in a goalkeeper to rival Jordan Archer. Last season, Archer had competition from David Forde, and knew that if he didn’t play well he would likely be dropped. This year, King is the backup. He has very little experience, and probably isn’t ready for regular 1st team football, so Archer seems to have the attitude of ‘even if I don’t play well, I’ll still play’ which isn’t an attitude any professional footballer should have. His performances have been poor, and bringing in a quality goalkeeper could see a shift in his performances and attitude.
One final thing that Millwall need to do is to keep former Fulham defender Shaun Hutchinson fit. He is a quality defender, and was meant to be a direct replacement for Mark Beevers, but injuries have stopped him from cementing a place in Harris’ starting XI. Keeping him fit could help to build a solid backline, something which the Lions have not had so far this season. They haven’t kept a clean sheet since the opening game, and Hutch, as he is known to ‘Wall fans could form a solid partnership with now fan favourite Webster.