With the English Championship season getting underway this weekend, we’re looking back at how the clubs that feature Caltex Socceroos are shaping up ahead of what promises to be another action-packed campaign.
Millwall went agonisingly close to reaching the playoffs in 2017/18 in what was their first season back in the second tier in England since the 2014/15 season.
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Coach Neil Harris will hope they can go to another level in 2018/19, with Caltex Socceroos defender James Meredith sure to be integral to their promotion push.
The 30-year-old left-back, who was part of Australia’s FIFA World Cup™ squad in Russia, started all 46 Championship games last season and should get the nod there again for the season opener against Middlesbrough.
MILLWALL’S PRE-SEASON RESULTS
Dartford 0-5 Millwall
Farense 0-2 Millwall
Millwall 0-3 Sportin Braga
Cambridge United 0-2 Millwall
Colchester United 2-1 Millwall
Millwall 1-0 Vfl Bochum
After being involved with Australia in Russia, Meredith had just a couple of weeks rest before reporting for pre-season training with the Lions until July 19.
While he was keen to get Meredith back amongst the group, Lions boss Neil Harris was also keen for his key defender to get as much rest as possible before another gruelling season.
“Mezza is such a good pro that it is about trying to keep him away from the gym or the training pitch – it isn’t easy. It’s important to remember he had a short break last summer because of the play-off final and this summer he has had a short break because of the World Cup,” Harris said at the time.
“It is not just about the football but everything that comes with the World Cup, the adrenaline rush and excitement of it. There is fatigue in the body, even if you are not starting games. We have to be really careful with him and try and force him to stay away. “It’s great to have him back in the group.”
Meredith has featured in Millwall’s last three pre-season friendlies, which were wins over Cambridge United and German side Bochum, either side of a defeat against Colchester United.
After just one season at The Den, Meredith also signed a new long-term deal with the club in the off-season, underlining his importance to Harris' side.