Steve Lomas leaves St Johnstone for Millwall

Steve Lomas will take over as the new Millwall manager when he returns from holiday next week, the npower Championship club confirmed last night.

The 39-year-old Northern Irishman guided St Johnstone to third place, their highest-ever finish in the Scottish Premier League, last season but has now been tempted south by the Lions. He replaces Kenny Jackett, who quit the New Den at the end of the season and has since taken over at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Millwall chairman John Berylson told the club’s website he was looking forward to starting work with the former Northern Ireland international.

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“I was tremendously impressed with Steve,” he said. “He has great passion and energy, knows a lot about Millwall as a club already, and this is a job he is genuinely hungry for.

“In some respects, following Kenny Jackett is a tall order, but Steve is very different from his predecessor, younger and with a fresh approach.”

Former Manchester City and West Ham midfielder Lomas has the potential to be a controversial appointment with Millwall supporters, given his close association with the Hammers. As Millwall’s interest in Lomas became apparent, a banner was pinned to gates at The Den telling him, in explicit terms, that he was not welcome.

But Berylson expects Lomas to win the fans over. “I believe our fans will take to him, and to those who say we shouldn’t have appointed a former captain of our biggest rivals, my response is, he has the desire to become a great Millwall manager,” he said.

“He understands the rivalry and is keen to be judged over time on his commitment to our club and what he can help us achieve.

“From our point of view, we want the best man for the job, and we believe that man is Steve Lomas.”

Lomas took over as St Johnstone boss in November 2011, having previously worked as reserve team coach at West Ham.