MILLWALL striker Lee Gregory has been given a new lease of life under Neil Harris – and wants his goal tally to hit double figures before the end of the season.
Gregory, who has been one of the Lions’ star performers since Harris took charge three games ago, underlined his new-found confidence with an ice-cool finish against Brentford last weekend.
And the former non-league frontman is determined to better his total of six goals now that Harris has “taken a lot of pressure” off his shoulders.
“Neil has put a lot of belief in me,” Gregory told the Southwark News. “We’ve been speaking regularly since he took over. He’s told me what I’m good at and what I should be doing.
“I now have the belief of the manager – it makes it a lot easier when there’s no pressure on you to do this or do that. He tells me that if I express myself and do what I normally do, I’ll be fine. It makes it a lot easier.
“I’m really enjoying my football at the minute. I can’t wait to train and I can’t wait for the next game. I’m a bit disappointed that it’s the international break – normally you’re grateful for a few days off, but I wish there was a game tomorrow.
“That’s how I feel at the minute – I want the games to come thick and fast.”
And Gregory has one of his pre-season targets firmly in his sights.
“I want nothing less than double figures,” he added. “We’ve got seven games left and, with the confidence I’ve got right now, I feel like I could score in every game.
“My goal at the start of the season was to score as many as I could – but a minimum of ten. It’s not gone my way this year but that’s what I’m aiming for now.”
Gregory no longer carries the burden of being a lone striker thanks to Harris’ tactics.
“When you play with two up front, you share the workload and that is very important,” Gregory added.
“After 60 minutes you should start getting more chances because their back four is tired – but, when you’re working on your own, you feel just as tired. It is hard.
“Neil is being very good with me at the moment because he’s told me not to track back for corners and instead save my energy for going forward.
“It takes a lot of pressure off me because I’m not being asked to do jobs that I shouldn’t be doing and that I have been doing.
“Neil wants me to worry about going forward and that takes a huge amount of workload and pressure off my shoulders. I can express myself more.”
Gregory's confidence had been knocked by a series of missed chances – but Harris believes he's now working with a confident striker.
“I’ve seen a lot of belief in Lee’s recent performances," Harris said.
"The only pressure that Lee’s been under is the pressure that he puts on himself because he’s a goal-scorer.
"Lee has always scored goals but he’s not scored as many this season as he’s used to getting, so he’s been challenging himself.
"But I’ve said to him all along, since he joined the club in the summer, that his movement is outstanding. He always gets chances because of what a good player he is and the movement he’s got.
"Whether it’s taken him three weeks to settle in or a year, he’ll score goals for this club and lots of them because the ball finds its way to him in the penalty area – or he finds it. That’s a great knack to have."