MILLWALL boss Neil Harris praised Aiden O’Brien after the attacker scored his first goal in 12 games in the Lions’ 2-0 win over Burton Albion on Monday night.
With Bradford and Barnsley winning earlier in the day, Millwall needed to respond and O’Brien’s superb finish in the 12th minute settled nerves.
Lee Gregory added a second goal in the 18th minute and Millwall comfortably held on to move onto 65 points in Sky Bet League One, 10 off Burton.
O’Brien had been out of form recently and was substituted in the 1-0 defeat at Bradford last Saturday.
But his finish against the Brewers, when he planted the ball into the top corner from Gregory’s pass, demonstrated the talent that could be crucial in Millwall’s run-in.
“I believe in the young man,” Harris said. “He has a lot of ability, a lot of class, a lot of energy. He’s a young man in his first full season.
“He had a blistering start when he came back after injury, sustained it for a few months and then just had a little dip in form.
“We played him for a bit of it, took him out and then obviously put him in for the last couple of games. It gives me real competition for places and food for thought with international players coming back.
“I was really pleased not just with his goal, which was obviously an outstanding finish, but with his all-round performance which was very good.”
Harris said he was aware that Bradford had beaten Crewe and Barnsley were winners at Port Vale in the 3pm fixtures and felt in that context the performance was all the more impressive.
Harris said: “I saw the results, I might have been glued to them! It was a brilliant test for my team tonight, a real test of character.
“However relaxed you try to be when you play off against everybody else, you do hope results go your way.
“They didn’t, and we knew that before kick-off. The challenge for the boys was to go out and put a marker down to everybody else.
“The challenge was also to put in another really proper Millwall performance. I think on the back of playing after everybody else, having seen their results, and then to put in that level of performance with real quality was really pleasing.”