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Lions boss focussed on Swans trip

Manager relishing visit to South Wales

8 February 2019

Neil Harris is eagerly anticipating Saturday’s trip to the Liberty Stadium to take on Swansea City, describing the week’s training as “intense as ever”.

Millwall face Graham Potter’s team having claimed 11 points from six Sky Bet Championship games, and will look to improve on last weekend’s goalless draw with Rotherham United.

“It’s been a good week’s training, the boys have trained really well and some of them got much needed minutes for the Under 23s in the week in a very good game,” Harris told millwallfc.co.uk.

“We’re really pleased with that, and preparation for the game on Saturday is as intense as ever. Against a team like Swansea, you have to work very hard because they’ll have a lot of the ball, and you have to get after the ball and be really disciplined. We’re set for the game and really looking forward to it.”

The boss highlights one of the key factors of The Lions being a disciplined display against a good possession side, and commends the attitude of the squad around Calmont Road.

“Swansea will have possession. I believe they and Leeds are the joint-highest passers in the division. They are a side with excellent footballers, and the pitch will be really nice. We have to have legs in the team and be very good shape-wise.

“But we go full of confidence. We’ve picked up 11 points from our last six League games, with the only dip in that being our late defeat to Blackburn. We’ve improved on the road, coming from behind to earn a great victory at Ipswich and then putting in one of our best performances of the season at Middlesbrough, from which we deserved the three points.

“The boys are flying, with the personalities in the group. With the new faces in like Pearcey [Alex Pearce], Thommo [Ben Thompson] and Marshy [Ben Marshall] back, training is excellent. The spirit and togetherness that we have is what you need going to places like Swansea at this stage of the season.”

With the contest against The Swans representing the second of seven matches this month, Harris assures that he and the squad are solely focused on the forthcoming fixture.

“We’re focused on one fixture at a time, that’s easy to coach. You’re always looking to the next game – since last Saturday at 5pm, all I’ve thought about is Swansea and preparing the team. Mr. Bielsa at Leeds has shown you all how hard we work behind the scenes and the detail that goes into it, that doesn’t change for us.

“We focus on one game, we make sure the players do likewise, and as soon as we’ve finished and reviewed Swansea, we’ll start focusing straight away on Sheffield Wednesday. After that, it will all be about AFC Wimbledon.

“The bigger picture is that we have a lot of fixtures in February. It doesn’t affect last week or this game, but it will do moving forward in terms of freshening things up, changing the team. Keeping a team from a game you’ve won, drawn or lost, and looking at direct opponents all goes into your thought process as a manager before you pick your XI. Ultimately, you pick a team that you think will win a game of football.”

The manager finally gives his update on team news for The Lions, with his injured attacking duo making encouraging progress in their respective recoveries.

“We’ve had Tom Elliott back out on the grass which is great, but he has only just come back into the group so we’re going to monitor how long he takes,” Harris states.

“Tom Bradshaw we’re hoping can get back outside in the next three to four weeks, and it’s a big boost for him and for everyone – huge credit to him.

“Other than that, we’re fully fit.”


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