Daniel Ballard was merely a bystander for Millwall’s game against Reading in midweek but the club’s assistant manager has told News at Den that they believe he could be back in the first-team fold as soon as this weekend.
The 22-year-old has made a bright start to life with the Lions, having made the move to the Championship side on loan from Arsenal over the summer. Despite having never made an appearance for the Gunners, Gary Rowett liked what he saw of the youngster and decided to bring him in on a short-term basis.
He has not let the manager down so far, featuring in 15 games for the second tier side so far and even bagging a goal from defence along the way. In fact, he’s been arguably one of their most solid players and has already helped his side concede just 16 goals in 16 league games so far this year.
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It was a surprise then to see him miss out on selection during his team’s game against Reading – but it is unlikely to be a regular occurrence, with Millwall’s assistant manager telling News at Den that he ‘hopefully won’t be too long.’
He said: “Hopefully he won’t be too long. Dan’s been excellent for us, he’s come in and played a hell of a lot of football in a short space of time. It’s been a really busy period for him with games coming thick and fast.”
It means that the youngster shouldn’t expect to be sitting on the sidelines for too long then, with the club clearly big fans of the defender and eager to get him back into the starting mix. If he keeps up his current standard of performance on a regular basis, then it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Lions even try and tie him up on a permanent basis when his current loan deal runs out at the end of the current campaign.
Daniel Ballard has certainly made a big impact at Millwall since joining them on loan and he is already a favourable figure at the club. His performances have been commanding for a player of his age and he is already a first-team regular.
Resting him here and there could work in the long run, as they won’t want to be losing him for a prolonged period of time. He has already become a key figure in their backline – so a long-term injury would definitely be a big blow for Millwall.