TOM Elliott gave Millwall “a different dimension” when he came on against Sheffield United, according to Neil Harris, as two headers from the striker contributed to his side claiming an injury-time point at Sheffield United.
Elliott was introduced as a 69th-minute substitute for Ryan Tunnicliffe and looked like he would score as his header was looping in with five minutes left before Egan handled on the line and was sent off.
Ben Marshall missed the resulting penalty, but in the fifth minute of added-time Marshall crossed for Elliott to force goalkeeper Dean Henderson into a save, before Jake Cooper nodded in the rebound in front of an ecstatic away end.
Harris explained his shift to a 3-5-2 was to match Sheffield United’s tactical set-up, with Shane Ferguson returning from a three-match ban to play left-wing back.
The Millwall boss introduced Marshall and Aiden O’Brien as his side chased a goal.
And it was Elliott who provided the decisive moments.
“Tom came on and was a real handful, it gave us a different dimension in attack,” Harris said. “I thought we could have been better picking up the second balls around him, it gave us an opportunity to not only be able to play between the lines and get the ball wide but have a focal point.
“I wanted to change the shape, I wanted to play with a back five. Shane is a natural wing-back. James Meredith has done great for us in the last two, but I wanted to put Shane’s quality into the team. We have missed Shane at certain times as a starter or off the bench. I was really pleased with him.
“James is very understanding. James struggles with three games in a week, he knew before the week started that he wouldn’t be playing all three games. On the back of West Brom I wanted to keep him in on Wednesday night [against QPR].
Conor McLaughlin also started for the first time since November, as a right-sided centre-back.
Harris continued: “I had already had in my mind months ago that I was going to play a back five here months ago.
“With no Shaun Hutchinson and Murray Wallace and wanting to change shape there was a lot of debate and thinking who would go into the back-line.
“The only question with Conor was his lack of football in the last four months. But I was really pleased with him. I only took him off just to be able to change the shape again.
“He acquitted himself really well.”
Image: Millwall FC