JORDAN Archer perhaps didn’t intend the double meaning, but there could be little doubt he was right on Saturday when he said he took his first-team chance “with both hands”.
Starting for the first time since August 26, there were just eight minutes gone against Bolton when he reminded of his talent for producing saves that get fans to their feet.
First he blocked one-on-one when Will Buckley got through, before moments later, still backpedalling as Bolton regained possession, he leapt to his right to brilliantly tip Jason Lowe’s point-blank effort onto the crossbar and over.
It was in that goal in February 2016 that he produced arguably his most spectacular moment in a Millwall shirt, heading over the bar to prevent an own goal from Mark Beevers’ over-hit half-volleyed back-pass against Peterborough.
Ironically it was Beevers who beat him at the same end on Saturday when he headed Bolton ahead, but Archer made another reflex save early in the second half from Lowe’s volley.
Archer was only in the side with Ben Amos not eligible to play against his parent club, and the former Tottenham goalkeeper has made a strong case to Neil Harris to keep his place against Birmingham on Wednesday.
But he played down his contribution against the Trotters.
"I haven’t actually seen [the saves] back, I’m just thankful to help the team in any way I can," Archer said. "The first one was a block – I tried to come out and make myself big – and the second was an instinctive save. As I said, I’m happy to help the boys out.
"It’s good to be back, it’s been a while now. Ever since I got left out of the team I have been working hard.
"Ben has been fantastic when I haven’t been playing. I knew I had to wait for my chance, I had to be patient and thankfully I got my chance today. I'd like to think I took it with both hands.
"You have got Dave Martin who is a fantastic experienced goalkeeper as well. We have been working hard the past couple of weeks, as we have done the whole of the season.
"We didn’t get told the team until [Friday], so it wasn’t until then I knew I was playing. I knew I had tough competition with Dave, but when the gaffer did tell me I was playing I was chuffed to bits.”
Archer didn’t want to revisit his dropping from the team and subsequent absence from the bench against Swansea in September. He also didn't want to say whether he thought he had done enough to start against Garry Monk’s side. "That’s not my call. The gaffer is the one that makes those choices, I just had to play the game in front of me and if I do get selected on Wednesday then I’ll be over the moon. If not, it’s back to getting my head down and working hard."
Millwall go into that Den game four unbeaten at home, after Jiri Skalak’s equaliser against Bolton.
Archer added: "There aren't many teams in the league that come up against us that we feel are better than us, and today it was another example of that.
"We started sloppily for the first 20 minutes or so, but after that first spell we controlled the game. I’m not sure what the possession stats were, it was just one of those games where the second balls didn’t quite fall for us."
Watch Jordan Archer's save against Peterborough:
Image: Millwall FC