BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ryan Leonard wants Millwall to sort their poor points return on the road – starting at Brentford on Saturday.
The Lions have taken 14 of their 16 points at The Den – and the former Southend United and Sheffield United midfielder notched his first goal for the club in their 3-0 cruise over Ipswich at the weekend.
Only Preston and Rotherham have the same low haul on the road in the Championship.
Leonard, a club record signing at the end of August from the table-topping Blades, said: “We need to be harder to beat away from home. “We’ve not get as many points as we’d like. Performances haven’t been great, other than maybe the last couple away we have done quite well.
“It’s something we really need to sort out. The games at The Den, they speak for themselves. We’re at it, the fans are at it – they are great for us.
“It’s quite clear the away form and results haven’t been good enough. It would be silly for us not to know that. It’s not for the lack of trying. We need to manage games better and that comes with confidence. Winning games at home we will take it into away games and do it there.”
Leonard marked his 10th appearance for the Lions with a goal. He punished Bartosz Bialkowski’s punch as he lofted the ball into the untended net.
“It’s nice to finally get one,” he said. “I’ve had enough shots, I think I’ve averaged seven or eight shots a game at the moment and had not hit the target.
“The first is always the hardest to get, because I put a lot of pressure on myself to get a few goals. So I’ve been disappointed about that. It was a good time to get it, it just killed the game with the timing – we’ve managed to see it over the line.
“It was one of those where if you don’t catch it properly it goes back to the keeper’s arms and is a bit embarrassing. I got a good contact. As soon as I did I thought it had a chance. I also thought the defender might clear it – but it had enough pace to go in.”
Leonard’s long throw led to Lee Gregory’s second goal against the Tractor Boys, with Jake Cooper glancing it into the path of the alert striker.
“The way we are at set-pieces – we cause havoc in their box,” said Leonard. “Thankfully enough we have got a couple of goals with big Coops doing well with a couple of flicks.
“The gaffer wanted us to get a goal early in the second half. It settled us down a bit for the second half. If it keeps working we’ll keep using it.
“I don’t think we were at our best. Over the last four or five games we have played some really good stuff and been on top of the opposition. They were frustrating us a little bit, but the goals came at good times.
“It wasn’t comfortable because they are in the Championship and have got good players. You can see that, especially at the top of the pitch.
“We had to stay at it, especially when it went to 2-0. If they get back into it then it makes it tough to build the momentum again.
“It was a professional performance.
“The boys have kept at it and we’re starting to get our rewards. But it’s not something we can rest on. We have to build on it. Our home form has been quite good – our away form needs to be sorted now. We need to put some work on the training ground, sort that out a little bit and we’ll start climbing the table.”
Gregory is on seven goals for the campaign.
Leonard said: “He got clattered early doors and he came back with two real striker goals – second balls and getting the knockdowns. Two great finishes, especially the second one over his shoulder.
“He has been brilliant since I’ve been here. He makes some great runs forward. He doesn’t always get given the credit, because he doesn’t score enough goals, but recently his scoring record has been brilliant.”