Harris urges patience with new Millwall star

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris wants fans to be patient with striker Harry Smith.

Smith, 21, scored two goals on his debut as the Lions defeated Luton 3-1 to secure top spot in their final group game in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Smith put Millwall 2-1 up in the 81st minute when he slotted home after Craig King had parried Calum Butcher’s shot.

He sealed the win and a home draw for Millwall in the next stage when he nodded in David Worrall’s free-kick three minutes from time.

A year ago Smith was playing for Sittingbourne in the eighth tier of English football before moving to Folkestone Invicta and helping them to win promotion with 13 goals in the second half of the season.

And he started his senior Lions career in perfect fashion at Kenilworth Road.

“Harry Smith scored two excellent goals and his all-round performance was outstanding.

“He has come from low down and the fans have to be patient with him, he won’t score two goals every time he’s on the pitch.

“But he showed his ability with the ball as well, which is key. I thought he linked really well with Aiden O’Brien in the first half and he linked really well with Fred Onyedinma in the second half.”

Millwall fell behind on Tuesday night when Shaun Hutchinson put through his own net, before the introduction of Onyedinma for O’Brien changed the complexion of the contest.

Onyedinma scored the equaliser from Gregg Wylde’s cross, and Harris felt the 19-year-old attacker’s contribution was crucial.

“I think he made an impact,” Harris said. “People spoke about David Worrall making an impact (against Southend) and he did.

“We changed Fred and Aiden and put Fred up top to give Southend something to think about Friday, and Fred came on up front and changed the dimension of the game.

“It gives us that threat of someone running in behind that we miss when we haven’t got Lee Gregory in the team.

“I was delighted. The boys are disappointed they didn’t get a clean sheet, the ball has hit Hutch and gone in the net.

“But I was delighted with the response at the other end.”

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly