MILLWALL boss Neil Harris heaped the praise on Shane Ferguson after the winger’s two goals helped the Lions to a 4-1 Sky Bet League One win over Colchester.
Ferguson added to Lee Gregory’s opener to put Millwall 2-0 up in the 38th minute and then eased some anxiety in the home crowd to score the third seven minutes after Chris Porter's goal.
The Northern Ireland international was given a standing ovation when he was substituted late on, and Harris felt Ferguson deserved his brace – his first goals for the club – for the long hours he puts in on the training ground.
“First and foremost he’s a great lad,” Harris said. “He’s added balance to our left side, he’s added ability to the side.
“He did well today, he took his two goals really well. I think he was hugely disappointed with the one he missed at Blackpool at 1-0 to make it 2-0 and the game safe.
“He was in similar situations today and scored both. He works hard at his game, practises a lot. He’s often the last one off the training pitch because he’s practising free-kicks and things like that.
“So credit to him today, hard work pays off.”
The win means Millwall haven’t lost since the 5-3 defeat to Peterborough on October 3 and they travel to Fleetwood for Tuesday night’s fixture in confident form.
Colchester were ragged at the back for most of the afternoon and Millwall should probably have punished them further to add to the 12 goals they've scored in their last three games.
Gregory, who is now the Lions’ top scorer with 10 goals – just one off his total for the whole of last season – hit the post in the first half when he should have scored, while Aiden O’Brien blasted over from six yards out with Gregory pleading for the ball to be squared.
George Saville saw a shot blocked by George Elokobi when it seemed he would get his first in a Millwall shirt and Fred Onyedinma and Steve Morison were also denied.
Harris was pleased with the quality of his side's finishing, but admitted the performance could have been better.
“I was delighted with the goals we scored but thought we could have had a few more,” he said.
“George had one blocked, Fred had one blocked, their keeper made two really good saves, one really good one from Steve Morison in the first half and another good save from Steve’s header in the second.
“We were very close on a couple of set plays when we just didn’t get on the end of the ball. Having said all that, scoring four goals and having four or five other good chances, I didn’t think we were at our best today and we certainly can play better than that."