Miller could be on way back to Town

FORMER Ipswich midfielder Tommy Miller has been released by Sunderland - and he could be on his way back to Portman Road.Miller, 28, spent two seasons at the Stadium of Light after he was signed by Mick McCarthy on a free transfer when his Town contract expired.

By Mel Henderson

FORMER Ipswich midfielder Tommy Miller has been released by Sunderland - and he could be on his way back to Portman Road.

Miller, 28, spent two seasons at the Stadium of Light after he was signed by Mick McCarthy on a free transfer when his Town contract expired.

Now, after finding himself surplus to requirements as Roy Keane steered the Black Cats back to the Premiership, he is likely to be a target for Ipswich boss Jim Magilton.

His release is no shock after he managed just five appearances last term, although he did make a further seven appearances during a temporary stint at Preston.

Ipswich had also been keen to sign him on loan but Magilton's priority at the time was to bring in an experienced goalkeeper and the move was shelved.

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But Magilton has made no secret of his admiration for the attacking midfielder, who netted 15 times for Town in the 2004-2005 season en route to the play-offs.

He scored 36 goals in 139 outings for Ipswich, who released him from schoolboy forms because they felt he was too small but then paid Hartlepool £750,000 for him in 2001.

Miller will not be short of offers from Championship clubs and Hartlepool, newly promoted to League One, may even make him an offer.

Magilton was keen to take him back last year but the player's wife had just given birth to twins and the couple were not keen on uprooting themselves all over again.

Now the situation leaves him with no alternative but to start afresh elsewhere and Magilton will be tempted by the fact that he could recruit a player he knows extremely well without having to pay a transfer fee.

Meanwhile, Magilton has confirmed his interest in bringing former loanee Michael Bates back from Middlesbrough, perhaps on a season-long loan if the Premiership club are in agreement.

England Under-21 cap Bates was signed in time to play in the 3-1 home win over Norwich back in November but he damaged knee ligaments in the following game at Barnsley and returned north.

Magilton said: “Matt Bates is one I really like and we have kept in contact with him. If he comes through the pre-season fit and well and it is on, then we would have him back in the building.”

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