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Harris highlights need to be "competitive" away from home

The manager previews first test on the road...

9 August 2019

Millwall boss Neil Harris believes his team need to be "defensively sound" as The Lions travel to West Bromwich Albion in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.

Harris' side face The Baggies (kick-off 3pm) looking to continue their perfect start to the 2019/20 campaign, also looking for a first away success.

In the past two seasons, a win on the road has not materialised until the new year, and the manager, speaking to millwallfc.co.uk, spoke of "picking a team to win and compete" with Slaven Bilic's promotion favourites.

"West Brom beat Nottingham Forest [last weekend], which was a good away result," he said. "They've got some fantastic players - it's been well documented that they've sold some, but they've also got in some great players as well. Ones with quality, from Portugal, or the Premier League over here.

"It's a tough away assignment for us first up, but we've sold the allocation, which shows the excitement of the fans, and we're going there to win the game. We're going to stop West Brom doing what they are good at, but we want to impose ourselves, as ever.

"It's really key for us to try and start well away from home. The fixtures we have away from home are quite scary to look at on paper, but what a test and a challenge for the boys - we have to find ways.

"I've said to the boys that I'm going to pick a team to try and win the game and compete with West Brom, but the test for them, mentally and physically, is to go there and think they're going to win the game. That will be another step in the right direction for us, winning games away from home."

The Lions began their season with a 1-0 victory over Preston North End last Saturday, and whilst Harris confesses that home form will once again be key in 2019/20, the need to pick up points on The Lions' travels is "imperative."

"We had a very good, solid start last week without creating bundles, but we know that Preston only created one goalscoring opportunity in the game. The Championship is reknowned for small margins, fine moments define games and moments of quality, as we saw with Derby's win at Huddersfield on Monday night, and then our game last weekend, which was hard-fought and one we just edged.

"Set-pieces will be key as ever, as will being defensively sound. Last Saturday was a strong performance, but if I want to change the team and formation, I've made promises that I'll do it. Will I do it all season, or on Saturday? I'll pick a team to win individual games.

"Our home form - as ever - will be hugely key this season, but we will need to be competitive away. It is important to win games, but also to pick points up along the way. Sometimes you can be disappointed or relieved with a point, but they do add up over the course of 46 games. It is imperative for us that I pick the right team."


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