Harris believes Millwall striker can improve in his 30s – like Brighton forward Murray

MILLWALL boss Neil Harris expects Lee Gregory to keep improving in his 30s – pointing to the example of Brighton’s veteran striker Glenn Murray.

Gregory turned 30 in August and is the Lions’ top scorer this season with seven goals. Murray is joint-third top scorer with Sergio Aguero in the Premier League in 2018-19 after celebrating his 35th birthday in September.

Gregory’s brace against Ipswich last weekend moved him level with Alex Rae and Wilf Phillips in 16th place on the all-time Millwall list of scorers with 71 goals.

The former Halifax striker is out of contract at the end of the season, but Harris wants him to stay at the club and believes he can keep developing his game.

“His form is top class at the moment. He’s full of energy, of running, of confidence,” Harris said. “Even when you get to 30, even Stevie [Steve Morison] at 35, you can still coach them. A lot of what we do with the forwards is instinct, how they play. We recruit players for how we want to play, but you can still work with them.

“We work with Lee, Steve and Tom [Elliott] and Bradders [Tom Bradshaw] to try and get the best of them in a Millwall shirt, and I think we’re seeing the rewards now of hard work from the whole team, starting from the last international break and moving through October.

“Lee’s goal-scoring prowess is first class at the minute. His movement is excellent and his anticipation is really good. I think if there was something I could have highlighted about Lee in the last couple of years to improve on it would have been his anticipation in the penalty area. He’s now adding that to his game and it means he’s a top-class striker at this level.

“Finished article? No, and he knows that. Can he be even better? Yes, of course he can. Look at Stevie Morison, how he’s progressed as he’s got older. Look at Glenn Murray, how he’s progressed. Yann Kermorgant (36) at Reading had some really good years in his 30s before injury.

“That’s got to be Lee’s aim, that over the next four or five years he can still keep getting better at this level, but also develop his game so that when his pace diminishes a little bit in years to come he’s bright enough and clever enough with his physique and strength to become a really good link player.

“At the moment he’s showing his ability to link the play but also to run in behind and cause teams problems.”

Image: Millwall FC

John Kelly