The Lions' Roar: A faltering start to season
By Ian Toal of Millwall Supporters Club
With the Olympics barely finished Millwall are underway in their 2012/13 season after a penalty shoot-out defeat at home to Crawley Town on Tuesday night.
It was disappointing to exit the competition to a League One side at the first hurdle and the majority of the 3,600 Lions supporters present left the ground less optimistic about the coming season than when they arrived.
Kenny Jackett had brought back the squad for an early pre-season start as he wanted players to be fitter than the others in the division.
Unfortunately that was not the impression the team gave on Tuesday. The fitness was not there and the sharpness of passing was missing with a couple of players like Jack Smith and Jimmy Abdou having shockers.
Striker Andy Keogh was missing on international duty with Ireland and skipper Paul Robinson was still unfit following an operation and these players will strengthen the team. But the jury is out on two summer signings Chris Taylor and Scott Malone.
Taylor was played out of position behind striker Darius Henderson and struggled but he has showed enough promise in pre-season on the left flank to suggest Jackett has picked up a decent player.
Big Danny Shittu came on as a second half substitute against Crawley. With Robinson and Mkandawire still not fit and Tony Craig having left the club in the summer, Shittu was signed on Monday. I know the departure of Craig and the arrival of Shittu are unrelated transactions, but you do wonder if the squad has become any stronger, especially as Craig was a real Millwall character.
Other notable departures in the summer were Josh McQuoid, Hamer Bouazza, Jordan Stewart, Chris Hackett and this week, Scott Barron.
We wish last two mentioned all the best for the future after providing us with good service over the years. The others contributed less and Millwall supporters will be glad to see the back of them.
Without last season teenage loan sensation Harry Kane at the club, goals might be difficult to find especially if Henderson plays as badly as he did against Crawley.
He did his best to impersonate Fernando Torres by missing three easy one-on-ones and then a penalty in the shoot-out.
How we will do this season is tough to assess so early on.
There is money sloshing around the Championship while we are competing on a much smaller budget and will need to perform well just to stay up. A top half of the table finish would be a good season.
We get into meaningful league action this Saturday when we entertain last season play-off finalists Blackpool. We certainly have a lot to improve on from Tuesday night but hopefully we will be better after that competitive work-out.