'Elliott has goal knack' – Harris set to give Millwall striker chance against Rochdale

THE league is still the priority for Millwall, but Neil Harris insisted they “100 per cent” want to reach the next round of the FA Cup against Rochdale this weekend.

Harris will make a number of changes for the fixture, with Tom Elliott set to lead the line if Lee Gregory or Steve Morison are rested.

Elliott scored on his return to first-team action off the bench last weekend against Leeds, his first appearance since Boxing Day.

Harris hasn’t yet decided on his team, but with games against Derby and Reading in the Championship next week, Elliott is one of those likely to feature.

“I was really pleased for Tom,” Harris said. “He’s had a frustrating period being out injured, coming back, then injured again. He’s got five goals this season and that’s a good return for someone who hasn’t played a lot of football.

“He’s got that knack in a Millwall shirt to score goals. Him and Fergie [Shane Ferguson] were excellent when they came on, by far the best attacking output by substitutes this season coming off the bench.

“Those two coming on was almost the impact Steve Morison was having at the start of last season. That’s pleasing because I don’t think we’ve had that impact off the bench very often.

“We’ve had it defensively when I’ve brought Tony Craig on, or Jake Cooper earlier in the season or Shaun Williams into a holding role in midfield.

“We’ve certainly been able to see games out but not had the attacking edge to us.

“Tom’s 6ft 4ins and 16 stone, we’ve got to keep him fit and keep him going. We’re learning all the time about him and sometimes you’ve got to recognise it takes time to learn about players.

“It’s our job to utilise him in the right way.

“I haven’t decided which individuals are going to play. But we will make changes to the team because we’ve got three games in a week and the league is the priority.

“I want to beat Rochdale, 100 per cent we want to be in the fifth round of the cup. It’s an opportunity in front of our fans to get through another cup game.”

Harris will be hoping for a tighter defensive performance than at Leeds last Saturday, though he said the way they rescued the game showed the “quality of man” in the squad.

“Looking back at the game last weekend, the feeling now is immense pride in my players,” Harris said. “What can easily be lost in a little bit of negativity around letting three goals in against ten men is two things.

“First, the first-half performance was top drawer. We went to Elland Road, eleven versus eleven, and completely dominated Leeds. They got booed off at half-time because they could have been 5-0 down.

“Second, after all the disappointment that we had in that 20-minute spell to have the character and desire and spirit within the camp, and ability, to score two late goals and win the game 4-3 was great by my players.

“It shows the quality of man that we’ve got in this dressing room that when backs are against the wall at this football club we come out on top.

“Nothing is easy at this club. To get your first away win of the season against an old foe like Leeds was pleasing for all of us.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly