BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Millwall boss Neil Harris was down to his last 18 fit senior players for today’s 0-0 draw with Stoke City – and does not expect any of his injured players back for the home game against Bristol City on Tuesday.
Aiden O’Brien withdrew from the squad late on and Shaun Hutchinson (illness) was once against not available for the Den clash.
Shaun Williams was the only change to the starting line-up against Stoke, replacing James Meredith. The switch saw Shane Ferguson play at left-back.
Asked about why he chose to bring in the Irish midfielder, Harris said: “Leadership, calmness – yes, different attributes to other players.
“Aiden pulling out at the last minute with a dead leg didn’t help us. The 18 players I named today are the only 18 fit players at the club.
“I just thought the importance against Stoke’s midfield three – it’s not bad is it. They had three in midfield and we felt we needed the competitive nature of Shaun and the two Ryans to match them up.
“Shaun Williams showed his qualities today.”
Lee Gregory could not find the target with a late chance.
“As a striker in that position, you need the fortune. The ball has come so quick at him, you almost need it to hit his shin-pad and fly into the net.
“I won’t bemoan that miss or that little bit of bad luck – because we had it in the first half with the one that hit the bar.”
Jed Wallace was far more advanced after the break and drew a save from Jack Butland.
Harris said: “We pushed Jed further forward because we couldn’t really find him with the football in the first half. Jed’s been carrying knocks for a few weeks now and has put himself forward to play again.
“We’ve just got to hope we can nurse him through until the end of the season. You can see his importance to the team – his athleticism and directness.
“We just thought playing him a little higher up might free him up a bit. We saw today that his pace caused them problems.”