BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Neil Harris is hoping new loan signing Alex Pearce can help cut out Millwall’s vulnerability to conceding late goals.
The 30-year-old Derby County centre-back put pen to paper on Friday.
His arrival allowed Byron Webster to push through a permanent move to Scunthorpe United.
Lions boss Harris had talked prior to the window about adding know-how and experience. Pearce, who won the Championship title with Reading, made his debut in Sunday’s 2-1 FA Cup win over Hull City.
“First and foremost he has a fantastic record in the Championship,” said the Millwall manager.
“His win percentage is ridiculously high from his appearances at this level.
“He is a leader of men. All the managers I’ve spoken to have said he is an unbelievable trainer – and a winner.
“We’ve got some young players and it’s important to have that leadership. We’ve seen that with Steve Morison at times this season with him coming off the bench – but it’s not always easy for a centre-forward to do that.
“Five times we have lost the lead going past 85 minutes in a game and that’s not acceptable for this level.
“Last season we had that leadership with Jason Shackell. I brought him on six or seven times last season when we were leading and we won games. He was really important for us. Before that we had Tony Craig.
“Alex showed what he was about on Sunday. It was an assured performance from a lad who hadn’t played any [first-team] football this season. He’s going to be a very good addition.”
Pearce had been tracked since April.
“At that time there was a lot of attention coming on Jake [Cooper] and Shaun [Hutchinson],” said Harris. “He was one we monitored and talked about it in the summer.
“We obviously had to be mindful of Byron, who was recovering from injury. When Byron was fully up and running we felt we had covered that situation.
“With Byron wanting to get out and play first-team football and get back up nearer to his family then we tried to bring Alex in.”