Leeds United: Dynamic duo Morison and Mowatt are praised by Redders

Alex Mowatt and Steve Morison.
Alex Mowatt and Steve Morison.
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Neil Redfearn said Steve Morison would continue to receive his full support after the striker was again denied his first goal of the season in Leeds United’s 1-0 win over Millwall.

Redfearn vowed to be “tough” in his backing of Morison and talked up another committed display from the forward as United moved into the top half of the Championship with a fourth win in five games.

A first-half free-kick from Alex Mowatt gave Leeds the honour from a key relegation battle at Elland Road on Saturday, establishing an eight-point cushion between United and the league’s bottom three.

Morison has been a permanent fixture in Redfearn’s line-up during a resurgent spell and Leeds have lost just once since the 31-year-old was recalled for a 1-1 draw away at Bolton Wanderers on January 10.

The ex-Millwall striker has gone 13 games without a goal, however, and he failed to open his account at the weekend as chances in each half were dealt with by quick reactions from visiting goalkeeper David Forde and defender Alan Dunne.

But Redfearn refused to waver in his support of the forward, saying: “I do think he’ll score. I genuinely believe that he’ll score. Back when things weren’t so good for the team I said that it’s important that I’m tough for them. Sometimes you’ve got to be tough for individuals too and Steve’s a case in point at the moment. I thought he was outstanding again and he defended from the front. That’s what we wanted.”

Mowatt forced the issue on Saturday with his fifth goal of the season, converting a deflected freekick to extend Millwall’s woeful record at Elland Road. The Bermondsey club have won only once in Leeds since 1988.

The midfielder briefly lost his place in Redfearn’s line-up at the end of December and he has operated out of position on the left-side of midfield since regaining his spot but United’s head coach said: “He was the best player on the pitch. His touch and awareness were good and it was a great free-kick. The play down the left from him and (Charlie) Taylor was excellent and these young players are growing all the time. We’ve got loads of scope to work with them.”

Millwall came into the match in the second half, going close to an equaliser through Martyn Woolford and substitute Ricardo Fuller.

But Redfearn was pleased to see his side climb up to 12th position in the league top half of the table having watched them stumble into a relegation fight before Christmas.

Redfearn, who expects centre-back Liam Cooper to return to full training after a hip injury this week, said: “We created chance after chance but at 1-0 they were always in the game. In the second half we had to tough it out but that’s two clean sheets on the bounce now and that’s pleasing for me.”