Veteran strikers Murray and Morrison could hold key to cup clash – Harris
Millwall manager Neil Harris believes veteran strikers Glenn Murray and Steve Morison could determine the outcome of their FA Cup quarter-final at home to Brighton.
Championship Millwall hope to secure their latest cup upset of Premier League opposition to progress to the semi-finals at Wembley, with their manager confident that the fine recent record will be prolonged.
Since his appointment in 2015 they have remained undefeated in the FA Cup at home to Premier League teams, most recently eliminating Everton, and Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester before them.
Their 31 victories in FA Cup fixtures since 2004, when with Harris still playing they reached the final against Manchester United, represents the fifth highest total in English football.
Yet Brighton’s successive league victories, easing the threat of relegation, means they will arrive in South London with renewed momentum and belief, and not least because of last week’s satisfying win at rivals Crystal Palace, inspired by Murray’s fine first-half finish.
The 35-year-old’s 13 goals this season have again made him an influential a figure for Chris Hughton’s Brighton.
Morison, also 35, has a similar role at Millwall to that Harris played, and the Millwall manager said: “You are talking about players who have had very good careers.
“They’ve probably been big influences at the clubs they have been at over the years. Natural goalscorers, and you can’t underestimate — especially in the modern game, with society changed since we were young and people not quite as outgoing and vocal as they used to be — that influence in the changing room and around the place.
“You certainly can’t underestimate that influence on the pitch and on big occasions. Glenn has done a great job. To score the goals he has scored in the Premier League over the last 20 months is phenomenal; he probably surprised everybody and maybe even himself at times.
“He is a player who has always played with his heart and us, football people, will always appreciate and admire that. Steve has been the same. He has been great for me as a captain, great for me as a player, and his influence around the place is important.
“At this club in particular, you need Millwall voices, you need Millwall people to understand what it means to play here. You need people to understand the connection between the terraces and the changing room. I have never underestimated that.”
The 41-year-old Harris also encouraged his side to play with freedom, insisting it is Brighton who will be under “pressure” to progress to the competition’s final four.
“When you are playing Premier League opposition and you’ve got to the quarter-final which is a great achievement for a club like us, the pressure is not on us, it’s on Brighton,” he explained.
“Brighton have done well to get where they are. But when you are playing a team from a lower league you do feel the pressure and the expectation you should get through.
“Every league game we go into there is pressure on us because you are looking over your shoulder and worrying about what other teams are doing but with the FA Cup it’s all about us and what we can achieve.”