MILLWALL boss Neil Harris said Lee Gregory set an example with his outstanding performance in the 5-3 win over Plymouth in the Football League Trophy on Tuesday night.
Gregory scored his second hat-trick since Harris took charge of Millwall, having netted a treble in a 3-3 draw with Derby County at The Den last April.
As well as his goals, the 27-year-old former Halifax Town centre-forward laid on the fifth for Aiden O’Brien in the 66th minute against the Pilgrims to help send Millwall through to the southern section area semi-finals.
Harris also praised the contribution of Steve Morison, who was thwarted twice late on by Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick.
“I said to the guys in the dressing room I thought the front pair were brilliant,” Harris said. “I thought Steve Morison was outstanding and he’s disappointed he hasn’t added to his goal tally for the season.
“But Lee Gregory was a fine an example to any senior or young pro how to play as a number nine in the modern day. He was playing off the shoulder and making threatening runs.
“I’m delighted with his hat-trick, and I think he might be trying to claim a fourth goal as well. But it wasn’t just his goals, it was his all-round game and decision-making as well with and without the ball.
“There was also his assist, it was a lovely ball in behind the defence for Aiden O’Brien.”
Gregory and Morison have now scored 14 goals between them this season, along with O’Brien’s tally of nine, but Harris feels the front duo’s partnership can improve even further.
He said: “It’s getting better all the time but there’s still progress and work to be done on that. They’re a threat and they complement each other well. They both work extremely hard, they’ve both come from a non-league background and there’s a lot of respect there between the two of them.
“With Aiden O’Brien also giving us that goal-scoring threat and Fred Onyedinma understanding the role that he plays and giving us pace on the counter, that’s key.
“I thought we were a real handful and a real threat all night.”