LIONS boss Gary Rowett believes loan defender Dan Ballard will not return to The Den next season.

Ballard joined Millwall on loan from north London side Arsenal last summer and made 31 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring once.

The defender played his part in the club's push for a spot in the playoffs and Rowett has admitted that he would welcome him back next season.

However, the Lions boss believed that Arsenal will want to send the defender out on a new challenge next season, rather than back to Millwall.

“It’s really simple with Dan. He’s done really well. If Dan was available again we would certainly welcome him back.” Rowett told the South London Press.

“But I don’t expect he will be [coming back to Millwall] because I think Arsenal will probably seek a different type of challenge for him.”

Rowett, although, is confident the club will cope without the defender with players such as Ryan Leonard and George Evans returning.

He said: “It’s what those type of clubs tend to do. He’s had a good season in the Championship. Will they look for something else? I don’t know.

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“We’ve got Lenny [Ryan Leonard] who is coming back in and it would have been nice to see him fit this season.

“If he was then we might not have needed to recruit in that area. We’ve got George Evans as well in that area who has had limited game time but performed really well in those positions.

“Alex Mitchell is coming back and he did so well [on loan] at Leyton Orient. I think we’ve got players to fill those roles.”

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