With England crashing out of the Euros, attention for many football fans will turn to upcoming per season fixtures and the start of the new campaign.
In less then 3 weeks Millwall will kick off their pre season with a tour of Ireland which they start on July 16th against Shelbourne, and the team will be slightly different from last season.
The goalkeeping position will most likely be different from last time out, with Kenny Jackett using 3 goalkeepers last season he’ll want to pick his goalie and stick with him. The most likely player for the number 1 jersey is veteran Maik Taylor, the ex Northern Ireland international was instrumental in the Lions end of season form, including making 2 penalty saves in 2 games and would be the and would be the fans choice.
Then there’s the EIRE international David Forde. This was the first season that Forde has come under any real pressure, injuries at the start of the season saw him replaced, plus high cost mistakes saw Jackett react and bring in Taylor and I would go with Taylor due to his end of season form.
Then there’s the defence. With the signing of left back Scott Malone, he would most likely candidate for that position. A good signing for the Lions as he is also known as a forward thinking defender, this means Tony Craig will miss out, a fans favourite who gives his all, but will hopefully be kept as back up for centre back position.
The centre back position will stay the same as last season, with captain Paul “Robbo” Robinson and Shane Lowry as the pairing, and will be hoping the carry on their impressive partnership from last season.
The right back position will be a battle between Jack Smith and one club man Alan Dunne. They both played many games at right back last season but I believe Jackett will pick Smith due to his performances, and he does not get caught out of position as much as Dunne.
Compared to last season there will certainly be changes in midfield, on the right wing it’ll be between James Henry and Liam Feeney. Feeney hit form in the middle of the season and was becoming one of the teams top performers, but his performances dropped rapidly, which saw James Henry come back in with great performances.
Plus something we’ve not seen from Henry before, passion in the way he plays, which was spotted quickly in by the Lions faithful. The centre of midfield will be a three way for two spaces, with Jimmy Abdou and Liam Trotter the most likely due to their partnership last season. But Josh Wright will be pushing them for a spot, coming in on a short term contract, his pin-point passing help open up defences, plus THAT goal against Burnley will live long in the memory; it’ll be interesting to see who Jackett picks.
So far their is only one candidate for left wing with new signing Chris Taylor. Taylor is a left winger who cuts in onto his right, which is where the majority of his goals and assists come from, this will be his first season in the Championship and hopefully he’ll be able to raise his game. There is only one left winger due to Hameur Bouazza leaving for Cyprus but the less said about him the better.
The strike force will have changed from the end of last season with Harry Kane returning to Spurs after a impressive loan spell. The one striker who is guaranteed to start is Andy Keogh, 10 goals in 19 games after signing in January will surely see him play, it’s just about finding a strike partner.
The obvious choice is Darius Henderson, but with his upcoming court case, he might not be an option come the end of August. John Marquis may be available, but he is young and not yet a quality striker, a loan to a League 1/2 club for the season would help him massively.
The one player who could be a good striker is Shaun Batt, he has overcome injuries and is now preparing for his first full pre season in two years, he will be a unknown to championship defenders, a strong tall body with pace, but will be get you 15-20 goals? We shall see.
With this in thought, this would be my team for the season at the moment –
Do you agree? Where do we need to strengthen?