NEIL Harris highlighted Shaun Hutchinson’s crucial late contributions as Millwall made it three wins in four games after defeating Fleetwood Town 2-1.
Hutchinson made his first appearance in more than two months when he came on in the 89th minute for Lee Gregory, and he headed away two late crosses as Fleetwood threatened an equaliser.
The 25-year-old centre-back could be in contention for his first start of the season next weekend at Oxford United and Harris feels the extra competition is important as Millwall look to climb the League One table.
“Shaun Hutchinson came on and made two good headers,” Harris said. “It’s nice to have Hutch back available, he wasn’t fit enough to start the game today.
“But he’ll play again on Monday for the U23s and if he gets 90 minutes then he’s available. Shaun Cummings will be the same.
“There’s competition for places and is it a coincidence that we’ve won three games in four and dominated Bolton and could have won the game after players came back from injury? Whatever way it is it’s important you have a competitive squad and having players available is key to a successful season and gaining the result on a Saturday afternoon.”
Millwall went 2-0 ahead against Uwe Rosler's side through two Gregory penalties. Fred Onyedinma won the first, and his partnership on the right flank with Mahlon Romeo again showed much promise.
Gregory could have scored a hat-trick but he saw a one-on-one saved by Chris Neal after being played through by Steve Morison, before he headed over late on from Shaun Williams’ free-kick.
The Lions were comfortable before Ashley Hunter fired in a 65th-minute shot that Jordan Archer got a hand to but couldn’t keep out. That meant Millwall still haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since the opening day.
Harris said: “I’m disappointed we didn’t get a clean sheet, really. I hate to talk about a negative but we should have done today. I thought we were dominant but of course in the last few minutes we were nervy and I thought the ground was nervy.
“We had passages of play when I thought we were excellent and created chances. We’ll take the penalties, we haven’t enjoyed much luck over the past couple of months, it hasn’t quite gone our way.
“They were two lovely, composed finishes, but Gregs should have come away with the match ball. It was genius play by Steve Morison and I think Gregs would probably say he should have scored that close-range header. But I was delighted with Lee, I thought he was excellent today.
“I thought we looked a lot more composed in possession, especially after the first goal. Fred and Mahlon linked up really well down the right side and Shane Ferguson added another element with the football.
“I don’t know if Jordan was unsighted, it looks like he gets a hand to it. They’re the fine margins and fortunately we scored two today. There’s no blame culture, it’s about taking responsibility and being better.
“We’ll look at the goal back, we were disappointed with it as a group. But I was delighted with the character, especially in injury time when they had a couple of corners and we threw bodies on the line.
“But I expect my players to be better, to be honest. That might sound a bit critical after we won the game, but you have to improve while you’re winning. We have to get back to a clean-sheet mentality and I’m disappointed that we didn’t today.”
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