Millwall boss on Connor Mahoney’s wing-back role and pre-season preparation so far

GARY Rowett has explained his thinking behind trying Connor Mahoney in different positions in pre-season games.

Mahoney played as a left wing-back in Millwall’s 2-0 win over Motherwell last weekend and then on the left side of a midfield three in the 3-2 defeat at Watford on Wednesday.

Mahoney is naturally a winger but if the Lions play 5-3-2 then Rowett wants the former Bournemouth man to be able to fill different positions.

“It was one for the first game,” Rowett said about the wing-back role. “I just said to Connor, look, we’ve done it a few times last year towards the end of the season chasing games late on so from a fitness perspective for him it’s not a bad thing to do that in the first game or two.

“He’ll obviously get the chance to play a little bit more centrally in some of the other games as well.

“He’s come back in good shape and it’s about aligning some of those physical attributes with the obvious technical ones that he’s got.”

Benik Afobe joined on loan from Stoke

Rowett is pleased with how pre-season is going so far, with five new signings on board before the training camp in Scotland last week and only Ryan Leonard yet to return to training as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Rowett said: “If every manager had a preference you’d get all your players back and new signings in before the first day of pre-season. It’s usually unrealistic.

“It’s probably the quickest I’ve had it where we’ve made some of those key signings early. We’ve potentially got a bit of work to do still.

“But it’s nice to be in this position early. It’s a good feeling because you’re got the majority of the group to work with. Hopefully that will pay dividends at some point.

“I’m really pleased so far.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly