Welcome to the first of what will be a new feature on the MSC site! In this, we take a look at possible transfers, future plans and I give my opinion on any deals. Following the conclusion of the transfer window, I'll also take a look at how any new signings are doing or how Millwall players out on loan are performing.
Without further ado;
We know that Neil Harris is in the market for two loan signings this month, and have been told that these players are a centre back (to replace the injured Byron Webster) and a striker (to add to Millwall's attacking options).
There seems to have been more activity in terms of bringing in a centre back, with the manager having reportedly made approaches for Aston Villa's Tommy Elphick, as well as Wolves' Kortney Hause.
Firstly, let's take a look at Elphick. who Villa are now reportedly keen to keep in the midlands. His recent displays have been impressive after a disastrous start at Villa Park. He was thought to be a shrewd signing by then-manager Roberto di Matteo, having been crucial in Bournemouth's rise to the top tier. However, performances in the claret and blue were disappointing, and led to him dropping down the pecking order under Bruce.
Recent displays have been consistently good, and, in my mind, there is no reason why he would be a bad signing for the Lions. Elphick's experience and leadership would shine through, and potentially give young Jake Cooper another good mentor to learn from. The deal may prove costly now though, if the reports that Steve Bruce wants to keep him are true. The one thing that may help Millwall is that Elphick will know that he will find it harder to keep a place in the side at Aston Villa, given they also have James Chester, John Terry and Chris Samba. Also, with Axel Tuanzebe apparently on the verge of completing a loan move to the Villains, Elphick's potential move to Millwall suddenly looks a lot more likely.
Kortney Hause is a young defender, seen to have a lot of potential. Harris has said that loanees who sign for us will, in effect, be with a view to a permanent move, which would be unlikely for someone of Hause's quality and ceiling. Wolves will be in the top flight next year though, and he is unlikely to get much first team football at that level. One thing that could make him a slightly weaker option is that he also has that same inexperience and naivety that we see in Cooper and whilst Hutchinson hasn't struggled with injury of late, if he misses a game we are left with two young centre backs in a very tough division. Hause is also cup tied, something which has, reportedly, made the backroom team turn their attentions elsewhere.
There have been rumours linking the Lions with a move for Southampton's Josh Sims, a left winger- could this pave the way for Aiden O'Brien to play up front? Or even for a change of formation to 4-2-3-1? (With the Irishman behind the lone striker).
Southend making a move for Tony Craig could pave the way for this Sims deal to happen if the Lions stick to playing a 4-4-2. However, it would mean that they do need a striker as well, in my opinion. TC moving would allow Shane Ferguson to be the back up left back, with Sims and O'Brien then competing for the left midfield spot. The youngster's development seems to have stalled in the last year, and a move to The Den might help him realise his potential. He has pace and the ability to go around a man, as well as a decent crossing ability, ticking all of the boxes that O'Brien and Ferguson do, but only collectively. Sims' move would have a real chance of becoming a permanent one too, which could prove a great piece of business by Harris.
The Lions are expected to add a striker to their ranks, although there have been no reliable rumours as of yet.
Harry Smith could potentially play, but that would rule out another loan move for him, so Harris may continue to leave him out of the squad. A move to a League Two club would probably be ideal for the former Folkestone man, but it needs to be somewhere where he can start more games than he did at Swindon. The more games he plays, the faster he'll develop and Millwall could look to include Smith in the first team fold next season- especially with Steve Morison being not quite as young as he used to be and Tom Elliott failing to impress the majority of the fan base.
Tom King made a loan move to Stevenage last week. They are currently sixteenth in the fourth tier, so it could be a good move for the youngster (although I would prefer if it were Archer who left the club). They have a defence which is at times poor, so King will be tested and kept a clean sheet against Reading in the FA Cup on his debut. Whilst this should get him plenty of game time, you can't help but feel that he could've gone to a relegation threatened League One side, where the quality of strikers will be better. However, getting game time is the most important thing.
Sid Nelson returned from a loan spell at Yeovil, where he hadn't played since the 21st November. He then made the move to Chesterfield until the end of this season, who are in the relegation zone in the basement division of English professional football. Harris does still rate Nelson, but he has to make sure he is in the team week in, week out and performing well this time around, or risks not making many more, if any, appearances for his boyhood club in South Bermondsey.
Young right back James Brown, who has been very impressive this season, extended his loan spell at Carlisle until the end of 2017/18. He is a fan favourite of sorts up there, and they were very keen to keep him. Brown also came across very well in his interview (s), and also said he wants to be involved in the first team next season.
Jamie Philpot also returned from a loan spell at Woking, with Harris insisting that he will go back out on loan this month.