Millwall boss hoping to have defender available for Brentford and Aston Villa matches

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Neil Harris is hoping to have Shaun Hutchinson back for Millwall’s Easter fixtures – but has described the centre-back’s campaign as a “real disappointment”.

Last season’s Player of the Year has lost his place in the Lions’ starting line-up to loanee Alex Pearce.

And Hutchinson has not been on the bench for the last three matches due to illness.
Conor McLaughlin started in a back three in Millwall’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield United on Saturday.

Millwall boss Harris said: “Hutch would have been the natural person to step into the position, but again he couldn’t make himself available. It is a real disappointment how his season has gone.

“I hope so [that he is declared fit for the Brentford and Aston Villa fixtures]. There is only so long you can be struggling with illness before you have to get back on the training pitch. I’d like to think he’ll be back out there this week and making himself available.”

McLaughlin has had niggling injuries this season and has made just seven Championship appearances – six of those starts. The game at Bramall Lane was his first action at club level since November 24.

Harris said: “Macca is a little similar [to Hutchinson], he has not played a lot of football of late – I knew he’d be struggling to do the 90. I trusted him to come in and play. It’s a tough place to go and he was excellent for an hour.

“It was important that he contributed and nice to have him back on the pitch.

“He has played that role for his country. He did it against Chile, and they are not a bad footballing side.”