Millwall prepare for training return – as CEO says Lions are ‘desperate’ to finish season

MILLWALL are set to return to training in small groups on Tuesday – with Steve Kavanagh reiterating that the club wants the season to be completed.

Championship clubs including Leeds, Brentford and Fulham resumed training on Monday. Players arrived in their training kits, with Fulham staggering the return of their squad in groups of five.

The Lions’ last game was their 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest on March 6 before English football was suspended as coronavirus cases increased.

Training will incorporate social distancing before stage two would see a return to full-contact sessions.

Kavanagh is pleased that clubs are on a “pathway” to returning to league action, but warned there are still “pivotal steps” to negotiate before that becomes a reality. He added: “All at Millwall are desperate to get back on the pitch and finish the season successfully.”

Gary Rowett’s side are just two points off the top six with nine games left. If the Championship resumes then games will be played behind closed doors.

“Our stance as a club throughout this incredibly challenging time has been that the season should be completed on the pitch if it was safe to do so,” Kavanagh told the club’s website on Monday evening.

“It is very encouraging that the governing bodies, following appropriate advice and guidelines at all times, are eager to complete the remaining fixtures in that way which is a stance supported by the vast majority of Championship clubs who have taken on the challenges by seeking solutions in a positive manner.

“Consultation around stage one of the return to training was comprehensive and players and management were in full agreement.

“We are now on a pathway to getting back to playing but it’s important to note that there are still some pivotal steps to go through before we’ll be able to resume the season.

“What is key is that we’ve got some much-needed clarity on the processes behind returning to training and that has helped to further focus the minds of our management team and players who have all worked incredibly hard during the past couple of months, both in a physical and technical sense, to ensure we’re as prepared as possible for this next step.

“All at Millwall are desperate to get back on the pitch and finish the season successfully.

Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh

“There is nothing we would all love more than to come together again and tackle the rest of the season as one.

“As we all know and appreciate, that is unfortunately not going to be possible but only because the health and safety of the public has to come before anything else.

“Our fans are so imperative to the success of the team and they will undoubtedly be missed during this period. The players will have to adapt accordingly, but I have every faith in their ability to do so.

“While of course far from ideal for many reasons, getting back to playing without supporters in attendance is a necessary move in the current health climate. Being unable to play even without crowds would make the return of them seem an even more distant prospect.

“This is a step-by-step process and once the current season is complete then we can hopefully look – when safe and appropriate – at reintroducing fans into stadiums in order to help answer some of the long-term financial issues football faces as a result of this crisis.

Fans won’t be at games for the remainder of the 2019-20 season

“What is important moving forward in the immediate short-term is that every Millwall fan who wants to watch the remaining games should be able to do so easily and effectively.

“It’s also important that fans feel part of this and are able to show their backing in different ways than usual, and we’ll be consulting with supporters about how that can be achieved.

“We hope to have to further clarity on how the season will be played out as and when the next phases of training have been completed safely and successfully. Once that information is finalised and communicated to clubs then we will look to inform supporters, specifically season ticket holders, of the plans we’re making to ensure their value-for-money is protected as best as possible at an unprecedented time.”

Image: Millwall FC