The Football League Paper - - ADAM VIRGO -

YOU could say that Neil Har­ris is risk­ing his rep­u­ta­tion by tak­ing on the al­most im­pos­si­ble task of keep­ing Mill­wall in the Cham­pi­onship. Per­son­ally, I’d ar­gue that it’s a no-lose sit­u­a­tion.

If they beat the odds and stay up, he’s an even big­ger hero at the Den than he al­ready was.

And if they go down, peo­ple won’t blame the guy who stepped in for two months. They’ll blame Ian Holloway, who was there for a year.

Can he save the day? On the face of it, Neil is some­one who knows the club, knows the fans and can com­mand in­stant re­spect from ev­ery­one in that dress­ing room.

But I just don’t think there is enough qual­ity in that squad to change things.

You look at Bolton or Birm­ing­ham and the play­ers were al­ways there. They’d just lost their way un­der man­agers who couldn’t get the best out of them. That’s not the case at Mill­wall.

They’ve got one win in the last ten. They’ve con­ceded 60-odd goals. And this isn’t a sud­den dip in form – they only just sur­vived rel­e­ga­tion down to League One last year.

This is long-term decline and with­out a trans­fer win­dow to sort things out, I strug­gle to see what Neil can do.

The dam­age has been done and they al­most need rel­e­ga­tion to clear out the dead­wood and start again at the lower level.

But for Neil, it’s a great break. If they can fin­ish the sea­son strongly – even if they don’t stay up – it will prob­a­bly be enough to con­vince the Mill­wall hi­er­ar­chy to give him the job full time.

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