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Gary Rowett: New Millwall boss sought Neil Harris’ advice before taking job

Gary Rowett was watching from the stands as Millwall drew 2-2 with Cardiff City on Tuesday

New Millwall manager Gary Rowett says having the “unusual” chance to speak to previous boss Neil Harris helped him decide to join the Championship club.

Former Lions striker Harris, 42, stepped down on 3 October after more than four years in charge at The Den.

Harris said “the time was right” to leave, with ex-Stoke City boss Rowett, 45, named as his replacement on Monday.

“Neil was high in his praise for the people at the club and for the way it was run,” Rowett told BBC Radio London.

“I spoke to Neil quite quickly after he left – I did one of my coaching courses with him for 18 months.

“If you’re joining a new club it’s always good to speak to people who’ve been there. You don’t usually get the opportunity to speak to the previous manager because of the circumstances around a vacancy coming up.

“But Neil’s the sort of guy who’d do that and it helped.”

Rowett was sacked by Stoke in January after less than eight months in charge when the club were 14th in the Championship, eight points off a play-off place.

The former Burton Albion, Birmingham City and Derby County manager, who takes over with Millwall 17th in the table, says he has “big shoes to fill” following Harris, the club’s all-time leading scorer.

“That’s why I think we have to try to do it a slightly different way,” he said. “I think if I come in here and try to be Neil Harris I’m never going to do it as well as he would.

“The aim is just to take it forward, make small adjustments but not lose what the guys have built over a long period of time.”

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