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Championship

Wallace's fight for Play-Off berth

20 August 2020

Finishing second in assist standings in the Sky Bet Championship is no easy feat, not least when you look at the existing talent among the division.

There has been some outstanding talent on display throughout the 2019/20 Championship campaign, and despite finishing just below the Play-Off places, Millwall’s Jed Wallace has had a season to remember. 

A new manager in Gary Rowett at The Den changed the identity of the club from a defensive outfit to a more well-rounded side that proved a threat going forward. 

Wallace benefitted from that change in play, as did the rest of the Lions squad as they finished just two points outside of the Play-Off places, with the midfielder finishing just three assists off West Bromwich Albion’s Matheus Pereira, who helped the Baggies to automatic promotion. 
 
“I think as an attacker you are always judged on your end product,” Wallace said, speaking to the EFL.  "I always look at how many chances I have created more than assists if I'm honest, and I think I contributed a lot last season." 
 
“We have got a lot of fire power in the attacking areas in this team, Matt Smith didn't play a lot of minutes in the league last season but his goals to minutes ratio is through the roof. 
 
“I just think at times we needed to be more clinical in the final third, we have one of the best defences and our goalkeeper kept the most clean sheets, so I think we need to nick a few goals here and there next season and that should give us a chance of getting up and around that top six again.”
 
Experienced manager Gary Rowett took over from long-term boss Neil Harris who left for Cardiff City in October 2019, and after finishing within touching distance of those Play-Off spots Wallace is keen for the side to push on and break into that elite bracket.
 
With some of the signings made thus far, the 26-year-old midfielder is confident that the ability in the squad can take them to new heights.
 
“We had a great season, our upturn in form came shortly after the gaffer came in and I think we have really improved,” he continued. “We have a new style of play and we have signed some really important players.
 
“Getting Ryan Woods back for the upcoming season was important and getting Troy Parrott from Tottenham is a really exciting signing. He’s looked really sharp in training, for me it is a really exciting time at the club.
 
“The manager has made it clear that things won’t become stagnant at the club, and we have a squad here that really want to push on and I think we could have a really good go at getting in the top half again and even going one better.”
 
Being part of the Lions squad that were promoted to the Championship four seasons ago, Wallace knows how difficult life can be for new teams that are making the jump up from League One.
 
But for the likes of Wycombe Wanderers who are making their debut in England's second tier, Wallace says that they have nothing to fear and Millwall will not be taking the recently crowned League One Play-Off winners lightly next season.
 
“I think you saw the camaraderie that they have in their changing rooms at the Play-Off Final, and it just goes to show that sometimes you don’t have to have the best players  to be successful,” said Wallace.
 
“People like [Adebayo] Akinfenwa, [Joe] Jacobson and [Anthony] Stewart have led that charge for them and it just goes to show how important it is to have a strong changing room.
 
“They have a very underrated manager, so we won’t be taking them lightly that is for sure. We know ourselves when you come up you can do better than expected and we came close to getting in the Play-Offs in our first season.
 
“When I first starting playing in the Championship you had your top clubs that just ran away with it, but now you are seeing all different types of clubs establishing themselves in this league, and the clubs that are coming down are not as big as some of the clubs that are already in the division. It will definitely be another interesting season. 

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