BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Steve Morison is in no panic to resolve his Millwall future – and says he now understands his role as an impact sub.
The 35-year-old striker has played 27 Championship games for the Lions this season but has only started 12 of them.
Morison is due to be a free agent at the end of June.
Lions manager Neil Harris has already made it clear that the veteran frontman will have a future at the South London outfit beyond the summer.
And Morison – who scored the League One play-off final winner over Bradford City – has other matters on his mind. He said: “I’m not worried about my contract. All I care about is staying up.
“If we stay in the league and the manager says he wants me to stay next year, then he knows that I’ll do that. It’s not a conversation we need to have – he just needs to ask me.
“I’ll wait and see what happens. I’m not worried about it. I maybe understand my position in the team a bit more now, it’s going to be more impact. Hopefully more often than not it will be positive on a game. I’ll work hard in training to keep myself ready if I’m needed to start a game of football.
“I’ve got lots of time in my legs yet. This just drives me and makes me hungrier to make an impact on the football pitch.”
Morison was recently away for a few days as part of his UEFA Pro Licence.
He is due to finish in September.
“I’ll have had all the qualifications boxed off by the time I finish playing,” said Morison. “Don’t get me wrong – I owe a lot to the football manager and the football club, they have allowed me to do it while I have been playing.
“It hasn’t impacted on anything I’ve done on a football pitch. It’s down to me to get the work done and make sure it is as smooth as possible. It’s gone well so far.”
Morison reckons younger members of the Millwall squad will have learned so much since Championship promotion.
Last season’s eighth-placed finish – narrowly missing the play-offs – has been followed by more of a grind this campaign.
That could have been different if Millwall had not conceded so many late goals.
It was Morison’s slight nudge on Daniel Ayala in the last league outing at Middlesbrough that allowed Jordan Hugill to convert from the spot and deny the Lions a 1-0 win.
“We’d have been two points further away from the bottom if I hadn’t messed up,” said Morison. “But you can’t dwell on it. We totally agree we should be in a better position, but when we stay up this year and the boys are in the league next year they will have experienced two sides of Championship football in two years.
“That’s brilliant. They’ll have experienced the chance of getting in the play-offs – the confidence and momentum that can give you – and then they’ll have experienced the struggling side of it, where it is tough.
“It will only make all of those players better and stronger, because so many of them are young.
“Look at how much they’ll have experienced in two, three or four years of football? I didn’t experience anything like that until I was 27, 28 or 29 – these lads have done it at 20 or 21.”
Ben Thompson – cup-tied for the Everton game last weekend – comes back into contention for the visit of Rotherham tomorrow.
He had been impressing on loan for Portsmouth before being recalled and starting in a three- man midfield at Boro.
“He gives you everything he has got every single day in training,” said Morison. “He gives you legs in midfield.
“Thommo maybe needed to go away to build his confidence up. I didn’t realise it [the Boro game] was his first Championship start.
“He’s gone away, got confidence and he seems like he has grown up a little bit, in that he believes in himself and his ability. I’m sure he’ll definitely be in the manager’s thoughts for the Rotherham game.”