Preston North End boss Alex Neil impressed by Neil Harris’ summer recruitment at Millwall

Milwall signed striker Matt Smith in the summer from Queens Park Rangers
Milwall signed striker Matt Smith in the summer from Queens Park Rangers

Millwall’s revamp of their squad has caught the eye of Alex Neil ahead of Preston’s opening-day visit to The Den.

The Lions’ forward line in particular has a new look, a case of out with the old and in with the new.

Last season’s top scorer Lee Gregory left for Stoke City, while veteran striker Steve Morison joined Shrewsbury after he was released.

In their place have come Matt Smith from Queens Park Rangers and Reading’s Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

And with Lancashire lad Connor Mahoney recruited from Bournemouth to provide ammunition from the wing, their attack had certainly had a re-jig.

It is not just up front where Millwall have done business, with Neil Harris bringing in two keepers in the shape of Frank Fielding from Bristol City and Bartosz Bialkowski from Ipswich.

Defenders Alex Pearce (Derby) and Jason McCarthy (Wycombe) complete Harris’ recruitment to date.

North End manager Neil said: “Gregory and Morison had been there a long time.

“I think Millwall have made two good signings up front for the way they play.

“Smith is a good targetman and I think Bodvarsson caused us a few issues when he was at Reading.

“He can do both sides of the game, run away from the ball to stretch defences and he adds good height up top.

“I think the boy Mahoney is a good signing off the flank, in my opinion Millwall have strengthened the squad to a good standard.”

North End did the double over the South London side last season, winning 3-2 at Deepdale and 3-1 at The Den.

Andrew Hughes, skipper Tom Clarke and Sean Maguire were on target inside the first 27 minutes in the away win.

More of the same would be nice in the capital on Saturday although Neil expects a tough workout.

“It is going to be a different game than when we played them last time,” said Neil.

“You can play a team 100 times and every game would be different.

“It is going to be a tough match, Millwall away you know what is coming – they will be aggressive, up for it and up against you.

“Everyone gets pumped up for the first game because you have waited so long for it. It is a bit hell for leather, sometimes the early part of the game can lack quality as everyone is tearing about.

“We have to go there and make sure we compete and then try and get our foot on the ball to dictate the game.”

Millwall’s pre-season games ended with a 3-3 draw with Real Sociedad.

On target were Jed Wallace, Ben Thompson and Mahoney, the performance delighting Harris ahead of the season.

He admitted the side which faced the Spaniards would not be the one to line up against North End.

Speaking after the draw with Sociedad, Harris said: “I have got some tough decisions to make I have got to be honest.

“I have 13 or 14 players that deserve to play based on 
pre-season.”