Luck's in for Tommy
IT has been a good week for Tommy Miller and he wants it to end on a high.An away win over Gillingham tomorrow, to keep Ipswich on course for the play-offs, and the scoring midfielder will have no complaints.
IT has been a good week for Tommy Miller and he wants it to end on a high.
An away win over Gillingham tomorrow, to keep Ipswich on course for the play-offs, and the scoring midfielder will have no complaints.
Miller, 25, said: “I've had a nice few days, starting with the win at Rotherham, then I scored the penalty that earned us all three points against Sunderland.
“I was at Newmarket on Tuesday and Wednesday with some of the lads and, would you believe, I had a couple of winners.
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“Nothing major, mind, but when you have a couple of days at the races and come home showing a profit I call that a great result!”
Miller's upbeat mood reflects the buoyant atmosphere at Portman Road right now, with a run of five wins in six outings cementing Town's place in the play-off zone.
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He added: “The place is really buzzing and all you see in training are a load of smiling faces. It was a massive win against Sunderland and everybody is confident that we can keep it going.”
Monday's spot-kick success puts Miller on the 11-goal mark for the season and not 12 as reported by Sky Sports and other sources.
He laughed: “I think it's down to one that Ian Westlake scored at Burnley. It was credited to me in nearly all the papers and I think some people are still counting it as my goal.
“I always set myself a target of double figures and I reckon I'd have 15 by now if I hadn't missed so many games through injury in September and October.
“I got 11 last season, so I'm keen to beat that tally. But the main thing is that we carry on winning and avoid any slip-ups at such a critical stage of the season.”
Miller netted in each of Town's last two clashes with Gillingham, coming on as a substitute at Portman Road in November when the visitors were 3-1 ahead.
He grabbed a 74th minute equaliser to set up an exciting finale, only for things to turn sour deep into stoppage time when Mark Saunders clinched a 4-3 away win.
Miller was also on target at the Priestfield Stadium last season, when he struck the equaliser as Town roared from behind to register a 3-1 win.
Midfield colleague Ian Westlake also has good reason to remember this season's 4-3 home defeat by the Gills, since the game marked his first senior goal for the club.
And by a strange coincidence, Westlake was also given his first team debut as a substitute against the men from Kent.
That was in October 2002, in a 1-0 home defeat for Town during Tony Mowbray's brief spell as caretaker boss.
Like his manager, Miller is not a fan of the play-offs. He has his reasons, including two successive failures at the semi-final stage with previous club Hartlepool.
He said: “In an ideal world I think the top three should go up, but that's not what happens and it is up to us to take advantage of the system as it stands.”
Ipswich boss Joe Royle dropped a broad hint that he will plump for a same-again side when he said: “It would be daft to say there will be many changes from Monday.
“We are looking for the experienced players to see us through and continue this good run right through to the end of the season. I still haven't ruled us out of finishing third.”
And recalling how his Manchester City side pipped Gillingham in a dramatic Second Division play-off final in 1999, Royle added with a grin: “I think I'll get quite a unique welcome down there.”
Although he completed a full 90 minutes for the reserves in midweek, Chris Bart-Williams will not be in the Town squad after he and Royle agreed he would benefit more from a spell of intensive treatment on his back injury.
Gillingham ended a five-game losing run by defeating relegation rivals Walsall 3-0 at the Priestfield Stadium last week.
Player-boss Hessenthaler was delighted with the display and wants a repeat performance in their two remaining home games.
He confidently predicted: “If we play like that against Ipswich and Coventry we will win both of them.”