What a difference a week makes in football! Having picked up two wins against Charlton and Swindon in the last seven days, Millwall find themselves looking above in the league standings; only three points behind Southend United who currently occupy 6th position.
Having suffered two defeats without scoring a single goal leading to the Charlton game, I have to admit last Wednesday was the first time in a long while where I turned up to a home game full of nerves. Especially with our recent record against Charlton, pressure was on us to turn up and earn the result we desperately needed.
As I mentioned in my previous post, for the first time during Harris’ time in charge as manager pressure was starting to mount, with an increase in fans questioning Harris’ decisions. Going into the Christmas period only one outcome was required.
Nerves were quickly put to bed with the return of summer signing Shaun Hutchinson and talisman up top, Steve Morison. Not that we’ve played poorly since his injury, but the Charlton game clearly demonstrated what we miss when Morison isn’t in the side.
Leading from the front, Morison contributes massively in more than just one phase of play; especially in defence during set plays. Even entering the twilight of his career, there are no signs of him letting up yet.
Albeit nothing like the player we signed back in 2009, occupying a completely different role in the side, Morison’s importance to the style of play Harris wants is clear for everyone to see.
Instead of playing the role of a sole goalscorer, Morison takes up a role Harris occupied when the pair played up front together. Chipping in with the most assists since the start of last season, as well as providing goals ranked second in the charts behind Gregory, I view Morison as an even better player than the younger version we signed in 09.
I know what you’re going to say, I’m rimming Morison quite a bit here, and I’d probably agree with you. However even when looking into statistics of how the team perform when Morison is in the team, compared to when not available…
During the spell where Morison hadn’t started a game through injury we had failed to score on four separate occasions, including the disappointing one goal defeat to Shrewsbury. Where we all walked out after the game questioning how we lost that day.
Whereas in all other leagues games Morison started we have scored in all but one match, our 2-0 home defeat against Bolton Wanderers.
Perhaps having such a reliance on Morison is a negative Harris needs to address, as Morison won’t be on the scene to lead the forward line for much longer. Harry Smith stepped in and done a solid job for a player making his professional league debut much quicker than expected.
However, Smith doesn’t have the know how nor experience to help see out matches like Morison does. If I was Harris once we’ve sorted our defensive problems, seeking a long term option to replace Morison has to be at the top of the agenda.