Wise handed reins at Millwall

John Nisbet
Wednesday 12 November 2003 01:00

Dennis Wise has been confirmed as Millwall's player-manager after a successful spell as caretaker.

The former England midfielder, along with his assistant Ray Wilkins, were appointed on a temporary basis at the New Den following Mark McGhee's departure last month.

During their four-game stint Millwall lost just once, away at Norwich on Saturday, picking up two wins and a draw. It was enough to impress the chairman, Theo Paphitis, who has handed the pair contracts until the end of next season.

"I am pleased with the appointment, it maintains continuity and allows us to continue with our stated aim of promotion to the Premiership," Paphitis said. "Dennis and Ray are both here until the end of next season, with Dennis also remaining a player for that period of time."

Millwall are currently mid-table, though only one point behind sixth-placed West Ham. Wise, 37 in December, said: "I wanted to play for another year. That was important to me and he [Paphitis] has shown me how much he'd like me to carry on as manager by doing that.

"I've enjoyed it for the four weeks that me and Ray have been in temporary charge and it is hard work, but it has been good. It has been a big learning curve already. Fortunately, I've had Ray with me and he's helped me a lot. If I hadn't had him I wouldn't have been able to do what I've done. I'm pleased he's come on board with me. I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully me and Ray will do a very good job."

Wilkins, who is also staying on, believes Millwall will need Wise's influence out on the pitch if they are to finish in the top six. "I think Dennis has a lot of football left in him and it's important he plays," he said. "I think there's always a tendency when you're a player-manager not to play yourself enough. But if you are still good enough to play then you should play.

"I will certainly be urging him to get involved. We have a real chance of making the play-offs this year because I look around the First Division and it's much of a muchness. There's no reason why we can't be successful given a little good fortune with injuries."

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