Millwall's Harris happy to finally have Wallace on board

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

NEIL Harris admitted he missed out on signing Jed Wallace last summer as Millwall weren’t able to challenge Championship clubs for his signature.

Wallace joined Wolves after a prolific campaign at Portsmouth when he scored 17 goals and was named in the League Two team of the season.

The attacking midfielder picked up an injury during pre-season training, however, which limited his involvement with Kenny Jackett’s side to just seven appearances.

Harris kept in contact with his former boss Jackett over the player’s possible availability, and clinched a 28-day loan deal for the 21-year-old on Friday.

Wallace made an eye-catching debut in the 2-1 win at Oldham on Saturday, playing a part in Lee Gregory’s opening goal when he burst down the right and picked out Shane Ferguson with a neat ball across the box.

On a soggy and energy-sapping pitch, he tired in the second period and was replaced with Aiden O’Brien in the 65th minute.

Harris was pleased with Wallace’s performance at Boundary Park.

“He did well,” the Millwall manager said. “He’s a player who we’ve had our eye on for a period of time. We watched him last season quite a lot. Unfortunately we weren’t able to compete against Championship clubs in the summer.

“But we’ve monitored him and I’ve spoken to Kenny about him before. The time is good for him to get out and the timing is good for us to be able to take him to give us a little bit of width and quality in the final third. It just gives us another dimension to our play and I was really pleased with his contribution.”

Harris revealed afterwards that O’Brien had been rested for the fixture. Steve Morison was taken off as a precaution before the area final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Oxford United on Thursday, while Harris also said that midfielder Jimmy Abdou, who was completing just his second 90 minutes since October, felt the effects of the difficult surface.

“I think the heavy pitch really caught up on us towards the end, we had some tired bodies, Jimmy as well. Steve’s hamstring was cramping up,” Harris said. “He went into cramp when he scored the goal and it was important to try and get some fresh legs on.

“To get Jed past the hour mark was really pleasing. To be able to give Aiden a rest was really important to us. He’s needed that for a period of time. I’m pleased with that and also the fact that Lee Gregory came back into the starting line-up and scored so early in the game.

“All in all, it was a difficult game on a heavy pitch against a spirited side and I was pleased with contribution of the lads and the minutes that certain players got in.”

John Kelly