10/06/19 Reverse order Timestamp format
Good morning and welcome to our Championship blog.
There have been some more names linked to Millwall surfacing over the last few days. One is the winger Jamal Lowe of Portsmouth.
Neil Allen of The News is a well-sourced Pompey journalist. The Lions have bid £1.5million for Lowe, 24, and if they want to press on and complete a deal then they will have to break their transfer record.
There are, of course, plenty of links between Millwall and Portsmouth. Ben Thompson was there last season so will know all about Lowe, who scored 17 goals in 2018-19. He’s not afraid to get stuck in either, notching 10 yellow cards in that campaign.
Lowe has had a quick recent ascent in professional football. He only joined Portsmouth in the summer of 2017 from Hampton & Richmond Borough of National League South. Millwall like a late bloomer: you only have to look at Harris himself and Lee Gregory.
Lowe mainly played on the right wing last season, and scored in the 114th minute of the EFL Trophy at Wembley in the 2-2 draw with Sunderland in front of 85,021 at Wembley, near where he grew up in Harrow. He then scored the fourth goal in the penalty shootout as Kenny Jackett’s side won 5-4. He gets involved off the wing, which is something Harris encourages in his wide players.
It wouldn’t be the first time Neil Harris has done business with his old boss Jackett. Harris trusts Jackett’s recommendations. Jackett loaned Harris George Saville and Jed Wallace from Wolves in 2015-16, with both going on to eventually sign permanently for Millwall.
Here are all Lowe’s goals from last season:
Millwall have a new back of shirt sponsor for next season:
Confirmed: Ben Thompson has signed a new long-term deal with Millwall.
Neil Harris said last week that the deal was close to completion. Thompson's previous contract ran to 2021. This one will go to at least 2022, there will be the option of a further 12 months.
Here's Thompson speaking to the club's official website:
I'm delighted. I've been here seven years now and to extend that is a great achievement for me. Hopefully the new season can bring some more exciting events, I'm looking forward to it. I'm happy.
Obviously, it's a dream to play for the club and to do well for them, but it's all come around quite fast. However, I've enjoyed every minute and long may it continue. I just feel that playing for this club means something to me and my family, and [to sign a new contract] is a brilliant achievement on my behalf.
To play with the players I play with, and to play under the manager is all a bit surreal, but I've been here a while and I've got used to it. It's great to play for the club that I support.
On and off the pitch, things really helped me last season. Going to Portsmouth was a great learning curve for me. I gained lots of confidence, which I needed, and built up more skill on the pitch and played better football.
I then came back and feel like I replicated that. That's what the aim was, to go out on loan and get the experience, get the games under my belt, then come back and be raring to go in a Millwall shirt. It paid off, we stayed up, and next season we have to be better.
Going away was massive. I was somewhere I'd never been before, I had a new set of team-mates, a new manager, new staff - it was all a bit daunting at first, but the boys were top class. They made me feel welcome.
I was living on my own, cooking, cleaning etc, which was something I had to adapt to. All that helps you grow up as a person."
I gained confidence at Pompey and could see myself going up the pitch and scoring every time I got the ball. I've practised adding goals and assists to my game over the last couple of seasons, which is obviously key to any football team. If you gain those, you're going to be an important player, so that's what I've been working on.
Hopefully that continues into next season. I think it's going to be a massive one for me next year. Last season I felt comfortable on the ball and on the pitch, and next year I want to score more goals and get more assists.
Here's Neil Harris on Thompson:
It's brilliant. Ben's progression has been remarkable. He has been away and had a continuous run of games at the top of League One with Portsmouth, and that has really benefited him on the back of a stop-start season last year.
The reason he went there was to have 20 games in a row - he got that. He came back to us, hit the ground running, scored some important goals, put in some important performances and got a few Man of the Match awards.
He showed his quality playing as a holding midfielder in a two-man midfield, but also playing as a number 10 and running forward, too. That shows adaptability and understanding of the roles. He lifted the crowd, lifted the changing room and galvanised us at times as well.
He became really important for us. Sometimes, when you haven't got a player you realise how important they are. He needed to get minutes regularly, so we let him go out, but it isn't until someone is away - not just on the pitch, but off it - that you realise.
Ben is a big character and well liked among all the boys. The way players attack everything is going to be a big thing for me next year - training as well as matches. I want the same tempo, the same attitude and the same mindset in both, from every single player. Ben certainly fits into that category.
"He certainly has the ability to break into the penalty area and show the qualities that he showed in the second half of last season. Players who can run forward and score goals are like gold dust. Whether you play 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or variations of it, you need players like that, who have legs and energy in the Championship.
Having a player who understands how to play as a defensive and attacking midfielder is key. You need players that can run with the ball and attack space.
Ben gives us that dimension.
Former Millwall defender Paul Rooney has signed for Dover.
He's a ball-playing centre-half so probably wasn't suited to the Lions...