Updated: Bialkowski says goodbye and Harris reaction
Bartosz Bialkowski completed a season-long loan move to Millwall earlier today.
The Blues ‘keeper put pen to paper on a deal that will see him turn out for the South-East London side until the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
On the deal Bualkowski has said to be ‘relieved’ to complete the move: “I am relieved,” he said. “It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I’m happy to finally get this deal done. I’m excited for the future.
“The clubs were talking about this deal happening from six weeks ago, and I was fully focussed to get it done. I was on the phone to my agent every day, asking about any progress with it. I’m just happy to be here.
“Last year was crazy, but previously I had a really good time in The Championship and I want to prove it again,” he said
“I am ready to go and I hope I can push everyone else forward.”
“I spoke to the gaffer (Neil Harris) and he said that although we have a small squad, we have a good squad of players. Everyone seems to get on well with each other and there is a good atmosphere, which is the main thing in the changing room. There’s a platform to build on there for success.”
On the deal Harris said: “We’re delighted to finally be able to get Bart into the building,”
“It’s been drawn out, not least for the boy himself who thought he was coming four or five weeks ago, but we’ve chased Bart all summer.
“What was never waived was that Bart Bialkowski was a prime target for us over the course of the summer.
“It’s an initial loan, so he’ll be here for this season, and we can look at him and he can look at us as with any loan. Our successful record with loans over the years speaks for itself. Bart comes in to play for us, to play Championship football, and Bart pretty much completes our squad for the forthcoming season barring anything unexpected.”
Harris goes into depth about the benefits Millwall can reap of Bialkowski’s experience at second-tier level, and says he relishes the goalkeeping selection ‘headache’ brought upon him with fellow experienced ‘keeper Frank Fielding.
“His record at this level is great. Obviously, last year he played in a very difficult Ipswich side and had some ups and downs, which doesn’t change his professionalism and his desire to do well. To be Player of the Year at a big club like Ipswich three years in a row shows what a talented lad he is.
“Bart has a lot of experience at this level, and ticks the boxes pedigree-wise. When you get character references on a player from managers like Mick McCarthy, you listen and take note. We’re delighted now to have two hugely experienced Championship goalkeepers and great lads in the building with Bart and Frank Fielding, and they will thrive off the competition.
“Frank has been great in pre-season, and Bart comes in with the pedigree and determination to play. It’s a great position to be in for me as a manager, and there are some real tough decisions to be made ahead of Saturday. We’ll see where Bart is at fitness-wise, but what we have is a squad who all are used to playing games and want to play – they’re fiercely competitive.”