BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall will keep looking to reward their top performers with new terms – but boss Neil Harris has made it clear they will not break the bank.
Right-back Mahlon Romeo, 22, signed a long-term contract on Wednesday with central defender Sid Nelson, also 22, penning a 12-month deal.
“This football club is still developing and we will not break financial fair play to be a better club – because that will just ruin it in the long term,” said Harris. “We have to make sure we build slowly.
“There have been offers to players which they will mull over. There is no rush in them signing or not signing – everyone is under contract next year other than Byron Webster, which we hope is developing quickly. I want to keep him.
“We’re not a club with huge finances. If people are here for the money then they are at the wrong place. But it is the right one if they want to play for Millwall Football Club, want to play for me and want to play week in and week out – or if they are not in the team then they are on the bench chomping at the bit to get back in. That’s what we offer.
“Even just offering the contract is important to me. That is a thank you to that person in terms of what they have achieved.
“We’re very clear as a club that young players will earn contracts coming through – they’ll get paid accordingly to their development.
“Macca [Conor McLaughlin] played the first half of the season and was outstanding but when Mahlon’s chance came, by luck, he grabbed it with two hands.
“Mahlon’s development at the club has been fantastic since the day he came in. We see Mahlon keeping on improving with us.
“He’ll come back in pre-season and has got a fight on his hands to wrestle the position with Conor. Mahlon being with us long term is great for the football club and epitomises what we’re trying to build.”
Nelson, pictured above, spent the end of last season on loan at Chesterfield and is set to be sent out again to gain more experience.
Harris said: “To be 22 and a horrible, aggressive centre-half – in the way he plays – is very difficult at this level that we find ourselves now.
“He is not going to be in our starting 11 and he needs to get that first-team football elsewhere. There is a clear pathway for Sid in our thoughts.
“What we’ve said is that we believe in him coming through.”