In previous weeks, Millwall boss Kenny Jackett has highlighted his forward line as an area of weakness.
The departure of Steve Morison didn’t seem to have affected the club in pre season, but five games into the new campaign (and after a 0-0 draw at home to widely tipped strugglers Barnsley) it was clear something had to be done. There’s commitment and heart in abundance, but in the final third that cutting edge has been lacking, the final ball not quite there. The squad is also weaker than last season. Case in point: seventeen year old forward Aiden O’Brien making the bench for the first time at the weekend.
With the fans calling for signings, Jackett could see too that reinforcements were needed to give Millwall some firepower up front. The first signing on deadline day was Dany N’Guessan, signing on a permanent three year deal from Leicester after impressing during the early stages of his loan spell at The Den. In hitting the winner in the Carling Cup first round and setting up a vital second goal in the league against Forest, he has shown promise of fulfilling his potential and being the quick, powerful front man that the Lions have lacked in recent times.
24-year old Liam Feeney also penned a three year deal after making the switch from south-coast side Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee, reported to be roughly £200,000. From what I can remember, Feeney was impressive in the League One play-off semi final last season, despite eventually missing a penalty in the shoot-out defeat against Huddersfield.
Both deadline day signings are a welcome addition to Millwall’s struggling forward line; Feeney has good technical ability and N’Guessan the power. Two deadline day deals completed, only the one to go – however the return to The Den of former Millwall loanee Jay Simpson was dependant on other deals going through.
First off, Leicester had to sign a striker to replace the outgoing Martyn Waghorn (who left for Hull), before Nigel Pearson could release Simpson to go back on loan to the Lions. Despite Sven signing Jermaine Beckford from Everton, the 11pm deadline passed without any confirmation of the deal, leaving many fans worried that the move wouldn’t go ahead. Shortly after 11pm a deal was confirmed to bring Simpson back to South London.
Speaking to the official site, Simpson said: “It’s like coming home. I am delighted to be back at Millwall because I had a great time here on loan earlier in my career. It has been a long week but I’m just glad the deal has gone through in time. I think it went through at 10.58 last night!”.
Before August 31st, the Lions’ attacking options were threadbare, now they have added strength in depth and increased competition for places. Jackett is blessed with options he hasn’t had this season. Selection headaches in Kenny’s forward line are a wonderful thing, and hopefully will make Millwall a more potent force in the final third for the foreseeable future.
N’Guessan should be fit for the visit for Birmingham on September 11th, with Feeney also set to make his debut and Simpson taking his second Lions bow. All three will improve the squad and add raw pace and goals to the team. Oh, and as a baptism of fire for Feeney and Simpson, their first home game as Millwall players will be against the club’s dearly loved London rivals West Ham.
I am more optimistic about the season ahead now, and hopefully the three additions will pay dividends. Jackett was backed fully by the board so it all looks rosy again down SE16; he just needs the results now.
In KJ we trust!
Written by Jay Taylor, We Are Going Up’s Millwall blogger
Jay tweets at @jay_taylor18