Date: 19th June 2015 at 6:37pm
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With Millwall’s fixtures out for our return to League One in 2015-16, manager Neil Harris has said he’s particularly excited by the run of games we have in December.

With newly promoted League One side Shrewsbury Town first up for us, Harris told the official site that we would face a ‘stern test’ in our opening game because obviously they will feel they have momentum and will ahve great confidence following their League Two success but in many ways for us it will be the perfect start because we’ll find out exactly what we are up against given our own rebuild this summer.

‘It’s certainly a tough one to start. What they have is momentum but, similar to us, they also have that element of the unknown going into a new division. It’s a good one for them to start with, to come up against a big club just relegated from the Championship, but it’s also great for us and will be a real stern test.’

Harris goes on to say he knows their manager Micky Mellon very well indeed and he knows his sides are strong and organised, with a good work ethic.

‘Straight away it will give us a real understanding of the division we’re playing in and the opposition we will be facing.’

With three home fixtures up after the opener, much has already been made of making The Den a fortress once more and Harris’ own hopes of making that happen this year, so he knows it’s the perfect run of games for us to demonstrate to the home crowd what we will be about.

They will of course be tricky games in their own right though, Barnet in the first round of the Capital One Cup, and then league encounters against Coventry City and Barnsley.

‘If we are to cement home form as the backbone of our season then we have a real opportunity to show that in those three fixtures. The start of the season is always the unknown but how we are shaping up will be a lot clearer by the end of July. I’m clear in my mind in terms of how I want us to play, the style of football, the formation and the players I want to use. But until you get out on the pitch and see the players perform you don’t know quite what you are going to get from your group.’

Harris is confident however that real signs of progress with all the work going in will be seen by the end of August, and whilst we probably still won’t be the finished product at that stage, he’s confident fans will be seeing good glimpses, and a growing consistency of improvement by that stage.

‘Certainly by the end of August, having played some difficult fixtures, we will understand more about the capabilities of the players, especially at The Den.’

As for the Christmas period itself, he went on to admit that the fixture computer had been kind to us given the travelling requirements and it was now down to us to capitalise on that.

‘The Christmas period in general, starting at home to Gillingham, is exciting for us. It is the big local derby of the season and, with the games that follow it, makes for a great set of fixtures over that busy period. The other game that stands out is the last game of the season when we’re away to Gillingham.’

It wasn’t all pleasure though, he knows the computer could’ve been kinder to us when it gave us long Tuesday night trips to Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Fleetwood Town.

But you can’t have it all your own way.

‘We’ve always had big support at those types of places as the supporters like to make a real weekend of it. It’s a shame and disappointment for the fans, but also for the players as well because of the travelling. I know plenty of our supporters will still travel to get behind their team but it doesn’t make that easy for them. All in all I’m quite satisfied by the list, though. There are other periods which are really good for us.’

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