Date: 2nd August 2017 at 10:46pm
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Shaun Hutchinson and Ben Thompson have both been speaking ahead of Millwall’s Championship opener against Nottingham Forest this weekend.

Opening the campaign up with Forest after Play Off promotion last year, 22 year old defender Hutchinson said he was pleased to come through pre season injury free and he feels good after a ‘solid pre season’ campaign.

Speaking to the official site with the new kick off to the new season just around the corner, he explained.

‘The main thing in pre-season is to get yourself as fit as you can and stay injury-free. They’re two things that I’m really feeling right now. I think I’ve had a pretty solid pre-season and I’ve come through it without any niggles, so now I’m looking forward to the proper season. I’m feeling good.’

With manager Neil Harris saying after the Granada game that it wouldn’t necessarily be his starting XI for Forest, Hutchinson went on to say the squad themselves were more than aware of that.

‘You want to get as much game-time as possible, but the manager has said to us countless times that our places for Friday night aren’t secure – it’s up to us to make them ours. He’s told the starting XI to keep their places, but also for the boys on the bench to come on and stake their claim. The main thing is to get the three points, so whatever the manager decides, we have to take.’

Asked about his hopes for the season, he added.

‘There’s no denying The Championship is going to be a really tough challenge. It’s a massive step up. A lot of teams at this level like to keep the ball and play out from the back, whilst the physical aspect will also be a bit higher. However, we have boys in the dressing room that are up for the battle and ready to give it a go. We do believe we can establish ourselves and not spend the year struggling. There’s unity and a good bond between the lads in the dressing room and that will definitely help us.’

As for Thompson, he was fired up for the challenge ahead as we look to cement ourselves back in the second tier of football and he relished the competition we now had at the club for starting berths.

‘It’s football, that’s what happens. You need competition for places in every single position. It’s healthy competition, too, which will make me train even harder and hopefully get my place back in the side.’

The 21 year old went on to say that Millwall would live up to their underdog status and we wouldn’t be overawed by the sides now in the Championship nor the budgets they can spend.

‘We’re playing against bigger teams and better players. It’s going to be tough. We’ve got to approach every game with the same mindset. I think we’ll be fine if we stick to our gameplan. We’ve got to prove everyone who says we’ll be relegated back to League One wrong. We’ve got to do our talking on the pitch – I don’t see why we can’t do that.’

He added.

‘We’re going to go into a lot of games as the underdog. The money involved at this level now is massive. But that’ll be a good thing for us. We go into every game trying to prove a point. It’s not a case of the opposition being worth ten times more than us, therefore being ten times better than us – we don’t look at it like that. At the end of the day, it’s eleven players against eleven players on a pitch, that’s all that matters – who wants it more.’

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