Millwall survive seven-hour trip to grind out win at Rochdale

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris revealed Millwall had a “horrendous journey” to Rochdale on Friday – and praised his players for not letting it affect them as they won 1-0 at Spotland.

The staff and squad were on their team coach for almost seven hours after leaving south London, but Harris said there were no complaints from anyone after they got stuck in traffic.

Lee Gregory scored his 19th goal of the season to fire his side to a fifth successive away win as Millwall moved three points clear of Southend in the league table.

The Lions are also just eight points off the automatic promotion places and the way they comfortably held on for the one-goal win against Keith Hill’s side should strengthen the belief that they can achieve that target.

Millwall frustrated their hosts in the second half and asked if it was a “typical Millwall performance”, Harris said: “I’d say that’s a really good positive for me to hear.

“We had a horrendous journey up here yesterday, leading into the school holidays. It took us a little bit longer to get here than we thought it would. But not one person on our squad had a negative thing to say.

“They just get on with it, they enjoy one another’s company and they have a right good laugh. On the training pitch they enjoy themselves but they work extremely hard.

“On the coach they have a good laugh and I think you could see that spirit on the pitch today. It’s epitomised by the fact that the whole team, the subs and the non-playing subs go over and show their appreciation to the fanbase that again travelled in large numbers to come and see a good Millwall performance.”

Gregory is now a certainty to become the first Millwall player to smash through the 20-goal barrier since Steve Morison six years ago, but Harris was just as pleased with a defensive performance that brought a third clean sheet in a row.

“Lee Gregory will take the headlines again for yet another goal, but he’ll be the first to pay tribute to the goalkeeper, the back four and the defensive display that deserved a clean sheet,” Harris said.

“We found a pitch that was extremely difficult to play on, difficult conditions to play in, freezing conditions.

“But it was a disciplined, aggressive performance defensively. And the one real opening we got we took.

“It’s hard work, it’s discipline, it’s desire. It’s a team that believes in what me and (Dave Livermore) believe in, in the shape that we play, that we played in with many good Millwall teams. To do it you have to work extremely hard, be disciplined, be committed and be a team player because you have to fill in for your teammates when we get out of shape.

“You rely on quality at certain times. With the four quality strikers I have and the players in wide areas who can create chances coupled with working their socks off for the team defensively, at the moment we’re on a good run but we can still get better.”