‘I gave him a big hug’ – Millwall boss on potential departure of talisman and big transfer overhaul

GARY Rowett wants new signings early in the summer to give him the chance to work with the squad ahead of next season.

There is set to be a big overhaul of the Lions squad with five loanees going back to their parent clubs, Alex Pearce and Connor Mahoney leaving and others such as Jed Wallace out of contract.

Rowett was asked after the 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth on the final day if he expects big changes.

“We have to, yeah, I think we’re going to lose a lot of quality from our team this summer,” Rowett said. “Potentially the likes of Jed, Benik, Burkey, people like that. They’re not easy to replace for us.

“We’ve got a little bit of room to manoeuvre. I’ve said it before, we have to make good signings this summer. We have to work incredibly hard. We’ve changed the way we recruit a little bit and we have to get players in as quick as we can so that we can work with them for the whole of pre-season.

“That’s our biggest challenge and we’re going to work as hard as we can to achieve that.”

Rowett was asked if it was Jed Wallace’s last game for the club.

He said: “I don’t know, I think it’s him saying there is a possibility of that [by going to the away fans after the game]. He’s earned the right with his performances, over a long period of time, he’s earned the right to have options in the summer. He’s a top-quality Championship player who I know can play at different levels of the game.

“He’ll have options. It’s up to him. He has earned the right to do it, for his family he has to make whatever he thinks is the right one. He loves the club, he loves the fans. I think it will be a difficult decision but the chances are he might not be here next season.

“If he is, fabulous, that’s one less problem to worry about. But if he’s not then they are big boots to fill.

“So good luck to him, I gave him a big hug in there as well, I said he’s been fabulous for me.

“Whatever he does will be the right decision for him.

“He’s got Premier League quality and on a free transfer there will be a hell of a lot of teams looking at him to add him tom their squad. The challenge for us is they are not easy to replace.

“What you don’t want to do is be weaker after the season we’ve just had. You want to be stronger.”

Image: Millwall FC 

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John Kelly