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"I want another successful journey," says Meredith

Left-back looks back - and ahead...

14 May 2018

According to James Meredith, it was an easy choice to sign for Millwall.

The left-back became The Lions' first signing of 2017/18 last summer, just a few weeks after appearing against Neil Harris' side for Bradford City in the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final, which Millwall won 1-0.

A full Championship campaign later, the 30-year-old has launched his career from trips to Oldham Athletic, Fleetwood Town and Walsall to the brink of the Premier League - and possibly a trip to Russia in June and July for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Speaking to after a extraordinary first season back in the second tier, Meredith expressed his delight at "a really good season" and thanked Harris and his staff for handing him the opportunity to play at a higher level.

"Millwall made it easy for me [to join]. The staff, the gaffer, the fans - they've all made it easy," he said. "It's great to be in London, too, so close to a major city.

"I've been pretty comfortable this year. I've known for years that I can play at Championship level, so it was just waiting for that opportunity. I'm very grateful that Neil Harris and his staff were able to give me that.

"Looking back now, the team has had a really good season. We deserve to be where we're at and I think we could've even gone on further. Next season, if we recruit well and keep the players we've got now - we've got such a good, solid bunch of lads - then we'll kick on again.

"I think there's another gear in there for me and for a lot of other players in this team."

The left-back made his Lions debut in the 1-0 opening night defeat to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground and didn't look back, making 47 starts, with just the Emirates FA Cup defeat at Rochdale to add to a full set of League fixtures.

Millwall made a typically slower start than most to their campaign and found themselves in 15th place following a 2-1 New Year's Day defeat at Norwich City.

However, a 17-match unbeaten run in the League from there propelled The Lions into sixth place - a spot that they unfortunately relinquished in the dying embers of the season. 

"I knew Millwall would do well, but I didn't think we'd do that well. When Tim Cahill came in, the first thing he predicted is that we wouldn't lose until the end of the season - he was pretty much right.

"When a team comes into a new League and there are lots of new players, it takes a while to build into a rhythm and understanding the best way the manager wants us to play etc. Once we got that, it was building blocks from there. We built our way up into a position through working hard, through being good at what we do, being solid and having quality players.

"It was unfortunate we had that difficult run-in at the end. We were very close, but no cigar."

Part of that incredible run saw Millwall equal a club record for consecutive away League victories - six - after winning at Leeds United, Reading, Birmingham City, Burton Albion, Hull City and Barnsley.

That sequence conincided with the arrival of Tim Cahill, whose experience brought "unity" to the team, according to the left-back.

"The team was consistently doing so well, so [the run] was deserved. Everyone was having such a great time. We weren't going into games nervous, we had the belief that we were going to win.

"Tim's had a great time and really enjoyed himself. He was good on the pitch but great off it as well. He's used his experience and brought everyone together, developing a unity in the team."

After a career that has taken in clubs such as Chesterfield, Shrewsbury Town and York City, next up for the defender could be a first World Cup appearance, followed by another tilt at promotion to the Premier League with Millwall.

"I've had a good time, it's been a fantastic season and I'm really happy with my first year in The Championship," said the former Bantam.

"I hope we can build and make the Play-Offs next year and go up to the Premier League. I want another successful journey."

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