Bolton manager Neil Lennon described Adam Le Fondre as a “priceless commodity” after watching his on-loan striker shoot down relegation-haunted Millwall in a 2-0 win.
Le Fondre’s first-half double means he now has five goals in 10 games since his arrival from Cardiff, and Lennon wants a similar return from his striker in the Trotters’ nine remaining games.
“They were two great finishes and ‘Alf’ is our second-joint top scorer and he has only been in the building since late January,” said Lennon.
“He is a goal scorer and his record has always been good. When the opportunity came to bring him here I thought he would make us better.
“He has already repaid that but I want him to get double figures between now and the end of the season. There are bits of his game he needs to improve on and I am going to keep pushing him on that.
“But it is a priceless commodity being a goal scorer and he has done that his whole career.”
Lennon also paid tribute to on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Amos, who blocked goal-bound efforts from Lee Gregory and Aiden O’Brien in the second half with the Lions on top.
“Ben has been brilliant and has brought a calmness to our defence,” said the Ulsterman.
Wanderers are now just two wins away from Lennon’s safety target of 50 points and 10 clear of second-bottom Millwall.
The Bolton boss said: “It was an important win because you could see there was some tension out there with the way we played at times.
“We were tentative at times in midfield and didn’t pass the ball anywhere near well enough. Our decision making was also sometimes poor but I can’t be over critical.
“We have only lost one home game in the Championship since I came here last October. We just need to learn how to pick up points away from home and we will be a force next season, providing we consolidate this year.”
Millwall are nine points from safety but newly-appointed manager Neil Harris was heartened by his side’s opening game in the post-Ian Holloway era.
He said: “I am disappointed we lost but there were plenty of positives, including the chances we created and the manner in which we had a right good go in the second half.
“The difference was Adam Le Fondre scores two good goals while Lee and Aiden didn’t score. The moves to get them in were really good and both hit the target but certainly one of them should have gone in the net.
“We are in a difficult position and there are no promises from anyone in the dressing room as to what we are going to do between now and the end of the season. The target is to win games and see where it takes us. We can try and improve in every game we play.
“Yes we are looking at a nine-game season but the bigger future for the club is we have to compete and play in the right manner.
“It’s been a mad few days for me but it has been made easier to enjoy it because of the attitude of the players. So I am gutted for them because on possession and chances I thought we were the best team.”