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Harris gives his views following Concord victory

The Lions begin pre-season with a 4-0 win in Essex

6 July 2019

Neil Harris has given his thoughts after Millwall opened their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 win at Concord Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

Shaun Williams, Ben Thompson, Reuben Duncan and Fred Onyedinma all notched as many of Harris' players featured at the Aspect Arena.
"I was pleased with the workout, and I thought Concord were excellent," the manager says.
"Today was about physical boundaries, because the boys have worked really hard. I was really pleased with the application of the players, and the only downside of the day was the hamstring injury to Tom Elliott.
"Today was about minutes, rather than the scoreline or who scores goals. The senior boys led really well with their presence and personality, and the young lads did really well - a couple of them in particular. Concord are a club which looks to promote young players, and if we can send players here during the season we will do - it’s a great level, the National League South."
Harris spoke of the returns to fitness of certain members of his squad, and says alongside their comebacks will hopefully be further additions to his options.
"The nucleus of the squad is bonding really well, and we’re of course looking to bring players in, with one or two potentially departing. We have to concentrate on recruitment and as well on the games ahead.
It’s great to have the previously injured boys back to fitness, especially for their confidence, and everyone can see their qualities and what they bring to the group. You can see a bit of rustiness in their legs and their football with how long they’ve been out, but you can see their minds working well, and I was pleased with their contribution."
One of the boss' returning players after a lengthy lay-off is Tom Bradshaw, who lined up alongside debutant Matt Smith for the first half of the game. Harris discusses the contribution of the front pairing.
"Matt showed everybody what he’s about, and I think people have seen his qualities in the first game of pre-season. He’s only going to get better, and it’s important to continue the service into him in the box, as we saw in the first minute with Jed Wallace’s cross and Matt’s header off the bar.
"They’re a combination that should complement each other very well. They’re both very hardworking, Matt knows his responsibilities within the team and we’ll be able to utilise him even more once the players get used to playing with him.
"With Tom, what you can see from him in 45 minutes is that his work rate is phenomenal, and he can complement pretty much any centre forward, or midfield player that plays off the front. We have high hopes for them this year, and we’re looking to add further to our forward ranks. It was pleasing to score the goals we did - we could’ve had more - and it was nice to see Shaun Williams and Ben Thompson get in the positions to get on the scoresheet."
The manager finally talks of the impact and progress of the U23 players who featured over the course of the afternoon, and states that for a Millwall side, a homegrown foundation is paramount.
"We think they’re a good group. It’s been a while now since we’ve had players breaking through. Unfortunately, we’ve lost James Brown to a knee ligament injury which will keep him out for four months. That’s a massive blow to us, as we had high hopes for him to come in and potentially challenge Mahlon this season.
"But we saw the likes of Tyler Burey showing their quality - he’s an out-and-out wide player who wants to cross the ball. Sam Skeffington and Billy Mitchell showed real qualities in the middle of the park, and then we had Junior Tiensia and Harry Ransom doing really well at the back.
"The senior players handled the young lads well and showed great leadership, and I think it’s important that we keep the identity of two or three homegrown players in the team. You’ll get the chance only if you’re good enough, and some of these young players will certainly be good enough."

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