BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ben Thompson has torn his hamstring – with the aim now to have the Millwall man back for the start of pre-season.
The 23-year-old suffered the injury in the 1-1 draw with Brentford at The Den on Good Friday.
Thompson has been a revelation since returning in January from a loan at Portsmouth – where he also starred for the League One promotion-chasers.
“Ben will definitely be out for the rest of the season,” said Harris. “He has torn his hamstring. We will hopefully get him back at the start of pre-season. He has got a bad one.
“He has been very, very unlucky. It is a big loss to the group.
“We also still have no Hutchy [Shaun Hutchinson]. He is still not great. We know that Tom [Bradshaw] and Murray [Wallace] are out for the season. We have got important players missing but that’s why the rest of the group has to make sure they continue to do what is asked of them – step up and perform to the best of their ability.”
Thompson has scored four goals in 13 appearance for Millwall this season. He had been a major attacking threat playing just behind Lee Gregory.
Thompson had previously been utilised predominantly as an all-action midfielder.
“If we had someone of Ben’s ability to run forward from that position earlier in the season then I would have changed shape to a
4-3-3 a lot sooner,” said Harris.
“Ben has done really well in that position but he has also got fantastic attributes to be a number four holding midfielder and also a number eight going box-to-box, who does the dirty side as well.
“He has played in a two-man midfield a lot in League One and been excellent.
“He hadn’t been a regular in the Championship, there is a lot for him to learn in those various midfield positions but he has got the capability to play anywhere in midfield.
“Certainly as the weeks have gone by he has been very effective in the number 10 position.
“He has been everything that we hoped he could be this season. Even now, talking about how big a loss him being out is to us – it is a sign of how far he has come.
“The plan at the start of the season was that if Ben wasn’t a first choice central-midfielder that we couldn’t let a season go by where he did not play a lot of football.
“We made sure we got him out to the right club at the right time. His learning curve under Kenny [Jackett] and Joe [Gallen] was excellent. It really helped him develop at a club and play regular minutes.
“He came back and hit the ground running straight away with some important goals.
“It has been a really good season for him personally. If we can get over the line and make sure we stay at this level then it will be an excellent season for Ben Thompson.”