Monday evening saw news broke with the formal announcement of Matt Smith as a Millwall player. It signals the third addition of the summer with Smith following goalkeeper Frank Fielding’s signing late last week; of course Alex Pearce had signed on the dotted line shortly after last seasons completion to be the first of the trio.
The three signings so far, least in my opinion make up the experienced players in the squad. With the likes of Tony Craig and Steve Morison departing in recent seasons, we are now seeing a transformation of players that Neil Harris will turn to when requiring a big performance when results are not quite going our way.
I’m by no means a mind reader and couldn’t possibly begin to tell you the exact thought process behind the three signings so far this summer. However, hopefully now with one or two match winners joining up in the coming weeks we wont be far away from what Harris wants to see from his Millwall side next season. I’m talking about your Jamal Lowe’s and Kieffer Moore’s, players who have impressed the division below and will be eager to come in and make it count in The Championship should the chance be offered to them.
If you happen to be unfamiliar with our new number 10 and his journey up until now, Smith’s arrival brings another element to our front line, especially considering his height of 6 feet 6 inches. Indeed with the departure of Morison in the early summer and the supposed departure of Tom Elliott pending, Smith will certainly be our new go to player when looking to play a direct style of play.
Joining up from London rivals QPR, the 30 year old target man brings a wealth of Championship experience with nearly 200 games at this level over the course of the last seven years. A former Leeds United and Fulham player too, Smith has actually been a Millwall target for as long as Ian Holloway’s stint in charge at The Den. Link here for reference should you be interested!
So we’ve finally got our man as the saying goes, but what can we expect from Smith? Well with 21 goals in 94 appearances at Loftus Road, it doesn’t sound like the most prolific of signings however its worth noting Smith was sparingly used in the last two seasons at QPR. In fact, of the 94 league appearances 55 were from the subs bench, therefore perhaps statistics such as goals to game ratio don’t quite work in the forwards favour.
If you scroll further back to Smith’s first season at Elland Road with Leeds, the forward actually netted 12 goals in 39 appearances in his first season in The Championship. Used as a key part of their team at the time, he was quickly a fan favourite at Leeds with many of their fans sad to see him leave after he joined Fulham. Joining a club such as Millwall now, who have always taken to a front two partnership with a little and large duo, the prospect of seeing Smith and Tom Bradshaw line up together in pre-season leaves me more than hopeful!
Despite some saying we should’ve moved away from Smith when we failed to sign him in seasons gone by, I believe we’ve got a top addition joining who betters our front line when comparing the impact Morison and Elliott had last season. Hopefully with a full pre-season together we could also see Bradshaw and Smith hit it off together and strike up a front two partnership that we as a club have always relied on.
Three signings so far Harris, go and get us some more please..!