Gary Rowett is set to have a full-strength Millwall squad to choose from going into Saturday’s Championship opener at The Den.
The Lions kick of their 2022-23 campaign on home turf.
“We’ve still got a couple of sessions left before Saturday but, touch wood, it is probably one of the few times we’ve got through pre-season wih no injuries at the moment,” Rowett told the South London Press this morning.
“That’s a massive positive, that the group is healthy and everyone has got pretty similar minutes – everyone has put the work in, on and off the pitch.
“We’re in a good place to start the season. Sometimes the most important thing in pre-season is the fitness and conditioning the players so you get to a place where the whole squad is in a good place physically – and that’s a challenge when you have got six weeks build-up with double sessions. So that’s the first big step for us and probably the most important.”
Having a full quota of players to choose from will also make picking the opening 18 that little bit harder.
“You usually work off the basis of having a couple of extra players each game that will miss out on the squad,” said Rowett. “The challenge is that you nearly always have got a couple of injuries. So when you haven’t got injuries it makes it a little more testing for me.
“It may mean someone has done really well in pre-season, put all their effort and energy into it, and then doesn’t get the feeling of being part of the matchday squad. But it’s important everyone understands they might go from missing out on the 18 to starting the week after – or missing the 18 to then being a main player in the squad.
“With five subs it is also very important you’re on the bench that you’re ready to come on and make an impact. It will be part of the season’s strategy, you have to win games late on. Sometimes players may be more valuable to me in the last 30 then in the first 60.
“We have to find that balance. Players have to understand of staying together as a group.”