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Harris discusses debutants, Lee Gregory and plans for the summer

Manager speaks openly after concluding campaign at Wigan

5 May 2019

Neil Harris has again spoken candidly as Millwall finished the Sky Bet Championship season with a 1-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic.

Joe Garner's solitary goal separated the sides at the DW Stadium, but debuts for the already-safe Lions for teenagers George Alexander and Billy Mitchell put a huge positive impact on the afternoon for over 1,000 travelling supporters.

The manager again reflects in detail on the campaign and already has a firm focus on a busy summer of activity at The Den.

"Reflecting on the season is the order of the day for me," Harris states.

"I've already spoken to some players who won't be here next year and I have more to speak to about their futures, and I want to tie down Dave Martin and Alex Pearce as a matter of priority, moving forward.

"This year, players do need to move onto pastures new, some need to relocate, and we need to recruit well to compete at this level. You can't stand still."

The boss explains that there must be an emphasis on bringing in signings with suitable qualities in terms of both talent and character.

"This will be a very busy summer, I hope.

"I gave some strong words the other day about what I need to and expect to change, and we can't make those promises without going through with them.

"From my perspective, we have to recruit the right players with the right character. You can't get everyone right - but we have to try and ensure we make as many of the right recruits as possible."

Harris goes on to pay tribute to four-time Lions top scorer Lee Gregory, who is likely to have played his final game in a Millwall shirt after over 200 appearances, since arriving from FC Halifax Town in 2014.

"We'll be really sad to see Gregs go.

"First and foremost, he's a great character - he very rarely misses training, he's as honest as they come, great in the dressing room and popular with the players and staff. As we know, he needs to move back up north for family reasons.

"I've relied on him a lot during my period in charge, and he epitomises a lot of what we've been about whilst I've been here. His goals, his running and his tireless work, along with what he has done in the last three months to show he can play in a 4-3-3 as well as a 4-4-2, shows he is a player who has come such a long way in the last few years. I wish him all the best, and the ovation he got from the fans and chance he got to say thank you was fitting today."

The manager finally talks over his decision to hand striker Alexander - son of Lions legend Gary - and midfielder Mitchell their senior bows, and discusses the potential of what could well be the Millwall players of the future.

"However you get your debut, it's something to savour.

"I showed today that there are some players who won't be here next year, and some will. The pathway is for the academy to come through, if you're good enough, which you have to be.

"I included Jesse Debrah in the travelling party after he made the bench on Tuesday, and Danny McNamara has had a great couple of loans this year and deserved to be involved. George and Billy have been outstanding players in the Under 18s this year and have made good progress through the Under 23s as well. They've got a lot of potential - you have to earn the right to be in the group, and they will do, because they're Millwall boys and they want it."


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