By Richard Cawley
Millwall could face the challenge of holding onto star men this summer – but chief executive Steve Kavanagh reckons that only underlines the South London club is going in the right direction.
Shaun Hutchinson has been in rock-solid form at the back for the Lions and was rewarded with a new long-term deal just before Christmas.
Millwall are eighth in the Championship form guide over the past six matches and were on a six-game unbeaten run before Tuesday’s 1-0 FA Cup reverse at Rochdale.
Kavanagh said: “We’re trying to build a squad not just to aspire to stay in the Championship but to really be established. Hutch was captain on Tuesday night and is an important part of that.
“It’s quite clear he’s performing well. I’m sure, as with other players, that people will start looking at them. Football is a challenge – the better you do, the more people want to take away the reasons why you’re doing well.
“That’s the challenge for Neil [Harris] and ourselves on the journey we’re going on.
“I’d rather have the challenge of people playing really well and attracting interest, than having shockers and having to get rid of them.”
Millwall’s transfer activity last month saw them secure loan deals for Ben Marshall and Jason Shackell from Wolves and Derby respectively plus hand short-term contracts to Tim Cahill and Harry Toffolo.
Kavanagh said: “We’ve added quality in Ben Marshall, Jason Shackell and Tim Cahill and added a youngster in Toffolo, who we can have a good look at.”
The Lions have no permanent deal in place for winger Marshall, 26. Last season they took Jed Wallace from the Molineux club and had terms in place for a summer transfer.
“It’s a straight loan but what I will say is when we bring in players on loan we need to make sure there are certain ingredients,” said Kavanagh. “Ben knows George Saville and wanted to come. He knows some players because of their links to Wolves.
“Hopefully he’ll fit in and play, what happens down the road will be seen.
“There isn’t an agreement to buy in the summer but things happen in football. When we first took George on loan that probably ultimately led to him coming back because he enjoyed it and wanted to be here.”