BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall boss Neil Harris is weighing up whether to bring in another experienced goalkeeper or a young prospect after signing Frank Fielding last week.
The 31-year-old was released by Bristol City at the end of last season and has played more than 350 first-team matches.
Millwall moved quickly to secure the former England U21 international after a deal for Ipswich’s Bartosz Bialkowski collapsed last Tuesday due to complications picked up in his medical.
Fielding trained on Friday morning with his new club for the first time after completing a medical on Thursday morning.
“He comes with fantastic pedigree and great references – in the sense he is a real top lad in the changing room and a great trainer,” said Harris.
“Everything we wanted to recruit, he provides. It was important we added to the group with four goalkeepers going. Frank is hugely experienced in that position and opens up our options for the next one that comes in.
“It could be a young one, who has got a lot to prove, or another experienced one that can really compete and they push each other.
“I’m quite relaxed about it. Frank really gives us that versatility because he has played a huge amount of games at Championship level and he’s hungry to play.
“He had been a regular number one season after season and then had one where he had to sit and support, to be patient and try and force his way back in.
“He has done both sides of it. What I do know with Frank is that if he does play 30 games in a row he is a great number one. But also if he is out of the team – due to injury, illness or a lack of form – he’ll be supporting and looking to get his place back.
“Frank’s only missed the first few days of pre-season here and will be straight in with Lee Turner [goalkeeper coach] to be assessed where he is at. He’ll just join the group and be ready to go.”
Fielding spent the last six seasons at Bristol City, playing 181 times.
He was an ever-present when City won promotion from League One in 2015 – also being named in the PFA Team of the Year for that campaign.
Fielding started at his hometown club when they were in the Premier League and although he never managed a senior outing for them he had productive loans to Wycombe, Northampton, Rochdale and Derby County before he permanently joined the latter in 2011.
Millwall released Jordan Archer, Ben Amos and Tom King at the end of the season while David Martin signed for West Ham.
PICTURE BY BRIAN TONKS