Boss praises prolific trio as Millwall chase consistency

© Millwall FC
© Millwall FC

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris believes the scoring returns of his three principal strikers is evidence his attacking philosophy is paying off.

Lee Gregory scored twice in the 3-1 win over Port Vale on Sunday to take his tally to the season to 13 with Steve Morison finding the net for the 10th time since his summer move from Leeds.

Aiden O’Brien has also scored 10 goals and the three attackers linked up well against Port Vale. Morison’s flicked header set up Gregory in the box before he was fouled by Richard Duffy for the penalty that put Millwall two goals up. Morison scored his side’s third after O’Brien had shown persistence in the box to tee up Gregory, whose shot was saved and deflected to his strike partner who finished.

Harris, Morison and Jason Price were Millwall’s three top scorers – with a combined 49 goals – when Milllwall won promotion from League One in 2009-10, with the current three on 33 goals between them and on course to eclipse that total.

“I’ve got three attacking players in double figures with 20 games to go. I said when I took over that we’d have an attacking intent, that it would take time to be free-flowing, and we’re nowhere near that yet,” Harris said.

“But to have three players in double figures is a great achievement for the squad and for those three individuals.”

Millwall travel to Chesterfield next weekend where they will be chasing their third successive league win.

The Lions have followed up a win or draw with a defeat eight times this season and Harris has admitted that the side have struggled to find consistency. Apart from the nine-game unbeaten run in October and November the next longest spell Millwall have gone without defeat was three games in September.

The Millwall boss praised his central defenders for their performances recently, but was disappointed that they let JJ Hooper steal in at the back post to finish Michael O’Connor’s free-kick past Jordan Archer to give Rob Page’s side some hope.

And he believes that improving defensively is key to building on a run of three wins in their last four league games at Proact Stadium next weekend.

Harris explained: “If we can add just a little bit more consistency and reliability defensively to keep more clean sheets then we’re certainly moving in the right direction.

“If we look back at the (Port Vale) game, and reflection is a big part of our learning curve at the club, we’re going to focus on a couple of areas where we can improve. Defending that set play will certainly be one of them.

“I thought the centre-halves were excellent as a pair, Byron Webster was outstanding again and I think he is really growing into a reliable player for us.

“Sometimes you just show them positive play, show them where we were very good,” he added. “Obviously we need to concentrate as well on where we need to improve and that’s what we’re doing as a football club and a squad, trying to be better.

“Sometimes you focus on what you’re good at and where you're doing well. If you can keep doing what you’re doing well and get better and you also improve the negative side of the game, then you’re going to be a really good squad and a really good team.

“We certainly focus from this moment onwards on Chesterfield next week and on their strengths, but we also look at where we’re going really well. If we can just tidy up on key areas defensively then we’ll be looking to put a real surge together.”

John Kelly