Ian Holloway: Millwall boss wants promotion challenge

Ian Holloway
Holloway has won promotion to the Premier League with Blackpool and Crystal Palace

Millwall manager Ian Holloway hopes his side will be challenging for promotion from the Championship this season.

The 51-year-old guided the Lions to survival on the final day last season after being appointed boss in January.

"I don't want another two seasons like we have just had. I want to do better than that," he told BBC London 94.9.

"I want us to feel like we can achieve things, be consistent and be fighting at the other end of the table, There's no reason we can't be up there."

Millwall finished last term with an eight-match unbeaten run and Holloway is keen to replicate that form when they begin the new campaign.

"We have worked really hard to raise our expectations and levels of what we do and bring Premier League standards to the club on and off the field," he said.

"I'm pleased with the atmosphere that is growing in the dressing room as it is about sticking together and being consistent in a tough division.

"We have given ourselves a points total and at the minute it is all talk. We'll have to wait and see."

Holloway looks to emulate Burnley
"Burnley astounded everybody by getting promotion last year. They deserved it because they had a manager who had a vision and drilled everybody into having those beliefs. They are an aspiration to me and the lads have also looked at it."

Five of Millwall's six summer signings have been free transfers but Holloway is content to work on a budget - instead focusing on forming a collective identity amongst his squad.

"Other people will have move money but really it just gives them more to waste," Holloway said.

"How can you equate one of our clubs buying someone for £11m? How does that work?

"I'd rather have the people I have picked up who are hungry, want a chance and want to improve.

"I'd rather not have that label of being the richest club in there as it doesn't always bring you what you want.

"I'm talking about a group of people who are passionate and care. I want to see that in every single aspect of our play.

"Burnley astounded everybody by getting promotion last year. They deserved it because they had a manager who had a vision, spoke about it and drilled everybody into having those beliefs.

"They are an aspiration to me and the lads have also looked at it. If you don't have high enough standards all you will get is moaning in your camp."

Millwall's summer signings so far
Carlos Edwards from Ipswich (free)
Lee Gregory from FC Halifax Town (undisclosed fee)
Byron Webster from Yeovil (free)
Ricardo Fuller from Blackpool (free)
Magaye Gueye from Everton (free)
Matthew Briggs from Fulham (free)

Holloway does have leeway to make more signings before the end of the transfer window but he is keen for some of the club's youngsters to stake a claim for places in the first team squad,

"I've left some room in the budget if I need to but I'd rather leave some spaces for young kids to kick through and say 'look at me gaffer'," he said.

"We've brought them up, they are part of what we are and know what it means. One of them, Sid Nelson, has just got injured but I'm sure he will have a part to play.

"They all understand what I am trying to do and if they do well enough they will be groomed for the future.

"I'm sure our fans will love having home-grown players in the team."

Millwall begin the season at home to Leeds on Saturday.