Brady offering no guarantees as fit-again Mills faces battle from new signing Koiki

Two left-backs were both in action on Saturday

Sunday, 25th July 2021, 11:20 am
Joseph Mills took the captain's armband when he came on in the second-half. Picture: Pete Norton.

Jon Brady is offering no guarantees to any of his players - not even captain Joseph Mills - that their starting spot in his team is safe once the new season gets underway.

Following an ankle injury sustained at the end of last season, the 31-year-old made his first appearance of pre-season on Saturday when introduced as a substitute 10 minutes into the second-half of Town's friendly with Birmingham City.

"It was good to have Millsy back out on the pitch," said Brady. "We probably gave him more minutes than we would ideally like but that's just how stretched we are as a group and the limited numbers we have currently.

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"Even while he's been out, Millsy has added so much to the group off the pitch with his information and his leadership and that's really important because he knits the group together.

"He's very good in that regard and it showed a massive mark of respect during the game because as soon as he came on they gave him the captain's armband, which was really nice to see from the players.

"As you saw, he hasn't lost any of his aggressiveness! But now we've just got to build his sharpness."

Mills replaced Ali Koiki at left-back against Birmingham but his spot in the team is by no means guaranteed next season, particularly with Brady a big fan of Town's 11th summer signing.

"Ali is very aggressive with his one-v-one defending," added Brady. "He's also quick and powerful - you can see he's built very powerfully and he'll be a great addition to our squad.

"I really like him. He's only 21 and I feel he's one we can develop and someone that can really fight for that left-back spot with Millsy because no position in the team is a given.

"He's one for the future as well because he's got a lot to develop."

The same applies on the other side at right-back where another new signing, Aaron McGowan, who has impressed in pre-season, competes with Michael Harriman.

Brady said: "Aaron comes with a lot of good experience but we've got Michael there as well and it's not a given that he's in the number one spot.

"It will be a fight between them both and that's what we feel is the most important thing - to have competition for places all over the pitch.

"We're building a squad where, even if we had injuries in certain positions, it wouldn't be a huge concern because we have strength in depth and I believe that will be very important for us going forward."