Harris: Millwall's Nelson showed his 'character'

NEIL Harris praised Sid Nelson for his performance in the 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury on Saturday, saying the 20-year-old centre-back showed “real character” after a difficult game against Wycombe last week.

Nelson partnered Tony Craig in the centre of the Lions defence after Byron Webster failed to recover from a hamstring problem.

Nelson had one nervy moment in the first minute but was solid as Millwall dominated but couldn’t find a breakthrough against the Shrews.

“Sid’s a boy playing a man’s game,” Harris said. “He’s been thrown in at the deep end with injuries to other centre-halves when he’s not been 100 per cent fit.

“He got questioned the other day but he answered that, I thought he was excellent. He showed the real character and warrior that he is. He stood strong and I thought he showed his characteristics and what a good player he’s going to be in the future.

“Byron tweaked his hamstring, he maybe did it right at the end of the game last Sunday. He tried to train on Tuesday and just felt it in the warm-up. We’re looking at probably a week to 10 days.”

Millwall created 19 goal-scoring chances against bottom-of-the-table Shrewsbury, but with top scorer Steve Morison still out Harry Smith and Lee Gregory couldn’t get the crucial touch to a number of crosses sent into the box.

“Ultimately that’s where we lost the game, in two penalty areas,” Harris said. “With Steve Morison it’s not just his goal threat, it’s his organisation. When you’re attacking corners he puts people into positions where he thinks the ball is going to go.

“It’s not a coincidence that he finds himself on the ball when other people don’t, you have that knack and experience. I thought he was a big loss and we look forward to having one of our leaders back involved sooner rather than later.

“Shaun Hutchinson will play on Monday with the U23s, he wasn’t quite ready (Saturday) and we didn’t want to risk him. He needs a bit more exposure to football before re-joining the group.

“To have Hutch and Steve Morison back in the next week or so will be a big boost for us.”

Only four teams have conceded more goals than Millwall in League One this season, and Harris acknowledged that’s an area that needs improvement.

“What did we have here, seven or eight thousand people, and I’m one of them in the ground,” Harris said. “I know we’re conceding too many goals this season. We’ve scored the fourth highest number of goals but, conceding, have the sixth worst record (before Saturday). It tells a story for a team that wants to be in the top six.

“I'm aware of that and we have to be better and more consistent in our decision-making and defend our box better. Somewhere along the line you have to take a point and a clean sheet and say, ‘we’ve dominated that game but it just didn’t happen’. But it’s hard to say that when you’ve lost one-nil. At nil-nil you can say, ‘brilliant, excellent, but the end product wasn’t quite there’.

“I think that’s the frustration in the whole ground, there’s no doubt we were a miles better team, created all the chances. We didn’t play at our best but did more than enough to win three games of football. But we’ve been beaten one-nil.”

Image source: ©Millwall FC

John Kelly