'Top pro' Butcher gives Millwall boss tough decision

NEIL Harris praised "top pro" and "real winner" Calum Butcher after the midfielder came on to help his side fight back to win 3-2 at Bury last Saturday.

Harris rested Ben Thompson at Gigg Lane and picked Jimmy Abdou ahead of former Burton midfielder Butcher. But with Millwall trailing 2-1 Butcher came on for Abdou and headed the equaliser 12 minutes later.

And Harris said Butcher's impact has given him a difficult selection decision to make against Braintree this Sunday.

"Butch has come in and he is a top, top pro," Harris said. "He's a good lad and a real winner.

"He'd have been disappointed not to be picked. I took Ben out of the team because I thought he needed a rest. I decided to put Jimmy in and Butch was disappointed, I knew that.

"But he comes on and makes his mark. He's got that ability, he scored goals last year running late into the box. We saw that against Northampton and we saw it again at Bury.

"As a manager, going into the game against Braintree, I've got some really tough decisions to make."

Harris also revealed why Aiden O'Brien was left out of the starting XI last weekend before he came on to score the late winner.

"I think Aiden would be the first to admit that even though he's scored goals this year there have been times where he hasn't been at his best," Harris said. "He's not been at his sharpest.

"I took him out of the team (Saturday) because I've asked a lot of Aiden in the last six weeks. He's played every game, even the Checkatrade Trophy games.

"And he's been the one that has had to come off after 60 or 70 minutes and somebody else has gone on. So I made the change to bring him off the bench as a sharp player to make the impact.

"When he plays up front he has to get the mix right between playing high as a centre-forward and dropping to link the play.

"And I actually thought he wasn't quite getting it again, but he popped up with a goal and as an attacking player coming off the bench that's all you can do."

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly