Millwall boss pays tribute to match-winner Fergie

NEIL Harris wants Shane Ferguson to raise the bar even higher after the Northern Ireland international’s FA Cup third-round heroics against Hull City on Sunday.

Ferguson came off the bench as part of a triple Millwall substitution in the 63rd minute as the hosts trailed 1-0 to Jon Toral’s 52nd-minute opener.

Ferguson levelled with a brilliant curled shot into the top corner with eight minutes left and followed that three minutes later with a direct free-kick past Tigers goalkeeper George Long.

Harris was asked afterwards if his substitutions were inspired. He laughed before saying: “Shane Ferguson – quality.”

Harris added: “Credit to my players, that’s four wins in 11 days for us at a time of year when it’s difficult to win football matches. The players have worked extremely hard and have had their rewards.

“Today you saw the belief in the group, the confidence even when we were behind again, to come back and win the game.

“In the modern game you want a strong starting 11, of course you do, and you want to compete in every game, but you need a balanced squad and you need finishers for the occasion. Being able to bring on Shane, Shaun [Williams] and Steve Morison, three excellent players with the ability to change a game, they all had an impact.

“They were class goals, what you’d expect from an international footballer. He’s got the ability to do that. Belief hasn’t always been there with Shane. I think the run of games he’s had and the form he’s been in has been outstanding. Those two goals were certainly befitting of winning any game.

“His confidence should be sky-high and the team’s confidence should be sky-high as well.”

It was the second time Millwall had come from behind to win in two games, after their 3-2 victory at Ipswich on New Year’s Day.

Harris said: “We’re finding a way to win matches. We weren’t in the luxurious position of being able to make six or seven changes like Hull were with the tighter squad we’ve got. But the players battled and the ones I could bring off the bench were outstanding.

“Shane in particular, he’s got to go from strength to strength from this. He works so hard without the ball, can play at left-back or left midfield. His defensive responsibilities are excellent but we want end product from him as well. Assists and goals are key and he’s certainly produced that in the last two games.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly