Millwall manager Gary Rowett has provided an update on the future of the club’s goalkeeping department and who it will consist of for the rest of the season.
Speaking to News At Den, Rowett has revealed that there is unlikely to be any extra recruitment in the goalkeeper department as Frank Fielding continues to build up his fitness after tearing his quad on the opening day of the season.
Luke Steele was recruited to provide suitable backup to Bartosz Bialkowski, with Steele now looking to end his loan spell with the Lions and return up north to Nottingham Forest.
Rowett said: “Steeley’s deputised for Bart really well.
“He’s a No.1 goalkeeper in his own right. We’ve probably got three No.1 goalkeepers at the club at the moment and of course something might have to give in terms of that.
“I’ve had a good chat with Steeley just to see what he was thinking.
“The conversations I’ve had with him will stay private but I think ultimately to keep a 35-year-old goalkeeper on the bench happy is going to be very difficult.
“He’s going to want to play, and rightly so. You only go out on loan for game time so therefore, realistically, he’s going to go back at some point.
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“At this level with the budget we’ve got, you’d normally go with two [experienced goalkeepers] and a younger one.
“The only challenge we’ve got at the moment is making sure Frank is physically fit enough to play that No.2 role to start with and then compete with Bart. Frank’s a good keeper.”
With Fielding having featured in an under-23 game on Monday, the summer signing is close to a first-team return and he will be looking to compete with Bialkowski for the No.1 shirt, it being confirmed lately that the Polish international would not be recalled by parent club Ipswich Town this January.
20-year-old keeper Ryan Sandford is expected to become the Lions’ third choice keeper when called upon.
The Lions have recently turned their form around since Gary Rowett was appointed in October, rising up to eighth in the table.
Bialkowski and Fielding are both more than capable of starting for Championship clubs, and Rowett has the right idea by not deciding to invest in another goalkeeper this January.
Having a youngster fill in as third choice is the best available option for Millwall at this stage of the season, and the Lions can reassess their goalkeeper options in the summer when the time is right.