Neil Harris says Millwall's long-term target is to become an established Sky Bet Championship club, and he's hoping the Lions' youngsters will be key to achieving that.Manager Harris was speaking after Fred Onyedinma became the latest homegrown player to extend his stay at the Den ahead of the upcoming Sky Bet League 1 season.
The attacker signed a deal that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2017, following team-mates Aiden O'Brien, John Marquis and Sid Nelson in agreeing fresh terms.
"It's important you get these things settled and that these young players know you have faith in them,” Harris told the club's official website.
"The long-term project here is to get back into the Championship and become an established club at that level, and I'm hopeful the group of youngsters we now have coming through into the squad will form the nucleus of our side in the coming years.”
While the Lions were relegated from the second tier last term, Onyedinma went out on loan to Wycombe Wanderers, helping them to a fourth-placed finish in Sky Bet League 2 before a Play-Off Final defeat to Southend United.
Harris believes the 18-year-old would have benefited greatly from that temporary spell, and Onyedinma is now likely to be pushing for a place in the Lions’ first team in 2015/16.
"Fred was allowed to go to Wycombe to gain some vital experience which he certainly did, learning all about the ups and downs of football in the process.
"He will be a much better player for that experience, and I would certainly have liked to have him available to me during the last 10 games of last season.
"All the young lads will benefit from having their friends around them, not only those I have already mentioned but also the likes of Jack Powell, Ben Thompson and Jamie Philpot.
"It's exciting for them and hopefully our fans will enjoy watching them play and develop."