Daniel Ballard made an early return from injury in an u23 match for Millwall on Tuesday afternoon against Ipswich Town.

Daniel Ballard playing for the Millwall u23s (Photo via Millwall on Twitter)
Daniel Ballard playing for the Millwall u23s (Photo via Millwall on Twitter)

Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard completed 45 minutes playing for the Millwall u23s against Ipswich Town on Tuesday, his first appearance after injury. He helped them keep the scores at 0-0 before coming off at the break in a planned substitution.

London News Online previously reported that Daniel Ballard was back in full training with Millwall, completing his first full session last Thursday.

Millwall boss Gary Rowett seemed pleased to have the Arsenal loan defender so close to a return, though he suggested it will be a slow process for Ballard and some of their other injury absentees.

“Dan was doing really well and performing fabulously in the Championship,” Rowett said. “It will be great to get him back out there and back in the mix.

“He feels good and has been coming to some of our games. He is desperate to get back in there.

“[But] we can’t just chuck them into 90 minutes of football and expect them to perform at the level they need to.

“We still need to modify some of their game time and get through a little bit of training. Hopefully, on the back of that, they will be back involved and with a chance of starting games.”

Millwall defender Daniel Ballard warming up prior to the EFL Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Fulham at The Den, London, England on 17 August 2021. Copyright: Simon Traylen
Millwall defender Daniel Ballard warming up prior to the EFL Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Fulham at The Den, London, England on 17 August 2021. Copyright: Simon Traylen

When Millwall initially reported the news of Ballard’s knee surgery, they wrote that he would be out of action until March. So to have him back on the pitch already is a big boost.

Ballard had played more minutes than any other Arsenal player (loan or otherwise) before the injury, making 21 appearances for Millwall in all competitions.

He’d also made four appearances for Northern Ireland on international duty over the same period.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.