Harris: Millwall strike duo "shattered" after Cardiff draw

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris admits recent fixtures have been "tough" on Lee Gregory and Aiden O'Brien and says he will assess their fitness levels ahead of tomorrow's trip to Blackburn.

Gregory and O'Brien have started all seven of Harris' games in charge, both scoring once, but felt "absolutely shattered" during the latter stages of Saturday's draw with Cardiff.

Millwall head for Ewood Park on Tuesday for their fourth game in ten days, knowing that a win would close the gap on fourth-bottom Rotherham to just one point.

And Harris must decide whether to ask Gregory and O'Brien, whose movement and energy has been key to recent results, to put in the hard yards once again.

The strike duo were withdrawn after 75 minutes against the Bluebirds as heavy legs took their toll.

Ricardo Fuller, Magaye Gueye and Gary Taylor-Fletcher all came off the bench and are pushing to start, while Paris Cowan-Hall, an unused sub, is also available.

"Lee and Aiden do not stop running." Harris said. "They've both scored for me but it's not the goals that everybody is appreciating.

"And when I talk about everybody, that's not just the fans and the staff but their teammates. The other players appreciate what they do for the team.

"Given where we are as a club and the position we're in, we need to get footholds in games, be solid and build a foundation – and those two are giving us that.

"It's been tough for them.

"I took them off because they were absolutely shattered, both got knocks and both have had knocks over the last few weeks, and they just keep going and going.

"The physio keeps patching them up but it's not easy. And we've got other players chomping at the bit to have a game, so there is definitely competition for places."

Fuller in particular made a strong impression off the bench, using his strength and speed to create a late chance for Taylor-Fletcher.

Harris added: "I don't think it's just Ricardo's impact on Saturday, it's the way he's been around the whole club since I came in.

"He's been in squads and out of squads – we left him out at Brentford and then he had a niggling injury – but he's back in the fold and looks like a man who's hungry to play.

"He's a top player, a good pro and the way he communicates with the younger boys is outstanding."

Cowan-Hall is yet to feature since returning from an ankle ligament injury but has been included in squads to face Wigan and Cardiff.

"We've still got to be careful with Paris," added Harris.

"It's no secret we've rushed him back before and he's broken down twice, and we've rushed him back this time to get him back in the fold.

"He's been back in the squad but that wasn't neccesarily because he was ready to start a game. It might have been only ten or 15 minutes.

"But with every few days that goes past, he gets another training session or two.

"I think we're getting to the stage where we can consider him for a start but we're certainly getting more comfortable with using him as an impact sub."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

22 thoughts on “Harris: Millwall strike duo "shattered" after Cardiff draw

  • April 20, 2015 at 16:07
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    They're professional footballers and are paid well. (An amount most of us can only dream of)
    There are only 3 games to go so they can have a long holiday after 2nd May. If the club need them to do a job then they must play. Maybe the first hour or the last 30 mins of each game will be enough but not playing them is not an option. NOLU COYL

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  • April 20, 2015 at 16:28
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    Those boys have themselves into the ground but in Gregory's case that is all he is offering. O'Brien has been at least creative and created some chances for himself and shown some flashes of real skill. If Gregory does not play then we may not have the same work-rate at the front but we at least have somebody who might look like scoring !!

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  • April 20, 2015 at 16:36
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    At this late stage why dont we run Gueye alongside Fuller keep Greggers and Obrien on the bench in case they are required just a thought

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  • April 20, 2015 at 16:45
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    Cowan Hall mentioned that he can play on the wing or down the middle, could be worth a shot. Maybe pick a pair from Paris / Gueye / Fuller ? Gregory and O'brien as subs. Then again, not sure when the right time to start playing Paris is.. I mean things are working OK atleast, maybe not worth the risk yet?

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    • April 21, 2015 at 08:37
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      @col: They are still both learning there trade under a proven goal scorer (Bomber) if they were racking up loads of goals do you think we would be able to keep them at the Den. Let the manager pick the team and handle his charges, he seems to have more of an idea than someone who has 20 years experience who got us into this position we are in now.

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      • April 21, 2015 at 11:54
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        @Barnlion: can't say I disagree barn but if I'm honest, Gregory should be scoring by now. He's had plenty of match time and playing now in a 4-4-2 formation, which most of us thought was needed, we still aren't seeing the end product. He's 28 remember so no spring chicken in football terms, he should be at his peak!

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        • April 21, 2015 at 12:05
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          @Geoff the lion: Geoff I see where you are coming from, but it was & still is a big jump from the conference to the Championship and as you have pointed out his age must be making it harder as he know this could be his only chance at the big time (Championship) and also the way he was played under Holloway did nothing for his self esteem.

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          • April 21, 2015 at 12:26
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            @Barnlion: to be honest Barn, my self esteem was low watching Holloway do his mental thing. but on a serious note, yes your points are valid, and maybe another 10 + games would see him hitting the net more often, but we don't have 10 more games in this season to prevent relegation. it was a massive ask to take him from the conference and expect a 20 goal a season striker in the championship, so I feel for the guy. I would've been using him as an impact player off the bench, as that would've built his confidence up over time. isn't hindsight a wonderful thing eh? To be honest Barn, the man puts a shift in, works hard, same as aiden, so both would have a place in my team. the next 3 games we need to take chances and really go for it. use both as impact players. if we go down, its not the end of the world as we have the foundation of a good team, so maybe div 1 would give us a year out for chopper to re-enforce his style and passion, get the guys putting the ball in the net, and bounce back with a real Millwall team that truly will "fear no foe"

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  • April 20, 2015 at 17:54
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    play Jos we need to keep a clean sheet

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  • April 20, 2015 at 19:17
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    Maggie has been saying his best position is as a striker judging by the way he has been banging em in I tend to agree. Has got past to annoy Blackburns defenders. Worth a go. Coyl

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    • April 21, 2015 at 12:44
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      @block 28: mate, id play my nan if I thought it was worth it. isn't it nice to talk about players on a positive note! 3 months ago most would've been knelt down and shot. lovin the passion Neil and given us back

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  • April 20, 2015 at 19:34
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    Would prefer Gregory and O'Brien to start, because their closing down makes opposition players tire late in the game....leaving the door open for our older and slower forwards late in the game

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  • April 20, 2015 at 19:42
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    I must say i wish Harris had not said this, even though its true, there are 3 games to go and the opposition must think that whoever puts that blue shirt on with the LION will run through brick walls to beat them !!! But he is learning and IMO has been excellent in 'rebuilding' our team.

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  • April 20, 2015 at 20:00
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    Some how it dont seem to matter who he puts in cos everyone he picks performs..if neil thinks they may need a break ..well thats good enough for me

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    • April 21, 2015 at 12:39
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      @Jim28: have to agree jim, neil hasn't let us down so far, and although we may not win every game like we would want, the team are going out and trying to give a true Millwall performance. I cant remember I time ive felt this positive

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  • April 20, 2015 at 21:49
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    Ear we go again ,, manager comes up with an excuse before we even kick a ball., does not bode well for Blackburn game.,,

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    • April 21, 2015 at 01:19
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      @teddy.T: no mate this time round its not a silly excuse its simply a fact..the two up front have put in some hard work ..i still think he will start with them..cos he has said this before about resting a couple from mid..but didn't and they had a blinder..

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  • April 21, 2015 at 07:00
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    The work of O'Brien and Gregory has been a large contributing factor in the results we have achieved under Bomber, I know they are not exactly prolific but they are doing a job and other members of the te are scoring. I would play Gregory and Gueye together and bring O'Brien on as an impact sub with Fuller

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    • April 21, 2015 at 08:04
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      @glyngo: had been rumoured that fuller left the club.wishful thinking on there part..me on the other hand cant stand the sight of the bloke

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      • April 21, 2015 at 12:41
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        @Jim28: such negativity Jim! I cant see what your problem is with the 30 goal a season striker

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