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Harris seeking "solid and reliable" Millwall at Bolton

Read from the manager...

8 March 2019

Millwall boss Neil Harris will be putting pressure on his group of players as The Lions travel to Bolton Wanderers in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

A run of three consecutive losses has put the club back into a relegation battle, with Millwall currently sitting one place and two points above the bottom three. They make the trip to face The Trotters this weekend, with Phil Parkinson's men themselves in the mire, one off the bottom of the table.

Last Saturday's defeat to table-toppers Norwich City was a second home defeat on the spin, but The Lions' recent form on the road is good, having won three and drawn one of their last six outings.

"Last weekend, Norwich were really good," said Harris when speaking to millwallfc.co.uk. "We competed, and there was nothing in the game, apart from we had 20 efforts on goal without really testing their goalkeeper properly, and they had nine, almost half of what they normally have, but eight on target.

"The difference was the quality in the final third, and that is where we're striving to be better. After last weekend's results, reality has hit a little bit that we are in the mix. We have to think about trying to improve, taking responsibility ourselves and moving forward with results."

The boss went on to concede that this Saturday's encounter is a "six-pointer" - but also explained how his players will be "capable" of handling the challenge he will set out to them.

"This weekend is one of those situations that you don't find yourself in many times during your career, going into big six-pointers - and it is a six-pointer. I played it down when playing Reading and Ipswich Town over Christmas when there were so many games left still, but we are in the same situation now as we were then.

"I have to put pressure on the group by saying it is a game we want to go out there and win. We don't have to win it - Bolton do - but we want to compete and gain a positive result. I'm happy putting that pressure on my players, because they've been in situations like this under me before, such as Play-Off Semi-Finals, Finals, big FA Cup games, and the players are capable of playing under it.

"It also sometimes brings out the best in people. I'm asking them what they have as a group, and what they have individually. Now, it is about strong personalities and strong mentalities."

Battles between sides managed by Harris and Parkinson have been notably hard-fought over the years, and the boss doesn't expect that to change in Lancashire this weekend.

"They are always good games when we come up against Phil and his team, because they are committed - the team is always at it. We know the challenge, and we know we'll have to compete for first and second balls and be Millwall-like. But we'll also need quality as well. What we have to have is quality and a clinical edge - that has left us at times recently - but also be diligent at the other end to stop the goals.

"We have to be solid and reliable, and make sure when the ball is thrown into our box and at set plays that we stand strong and defend."


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