Miller: I'll fill Matt's boots

MATT Holland replacement Tommy Miller vowed today: "I'll do my best to fill his boots."The 24-year-old former Hartlepool man returns to the Ipswich Town starting line-up at Gillingham tomorrow as experienced skipper Holland ends a remarkable Blues run.

By Dave Allard

MATT Holland replacement Tommy Miller vowed today: "I'll do my best to fill his boots."

The 24-year-old former Hartlepool man returns to the Ipswich Town starting line-up at Gillingham tomorrow as experienced skipper Holland ends a remarkable Blues run.

International duty for the Republic of Ireland in Georgia means that the 28-year-old "Captain Marvel" of Portman Road misses his first league game since joining from Bournemouth in the summer of 1997.


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Manager Joe Royle today confirmed that Miller will be back in from the start to replace him in midfield.

The seven-goal Miller returned to action last Saturday as a substitute in the home 2-2 draw with Brighton after missing three games with a hamstring injury.

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"Matt is of course a big favourite and he'll obviously be missed as he's a terrific player. These are big boots to fill I know, but I'll do my best to do the job," said Miller.

He continued: "It's a very, very big game for us as they all are now. We are still in with a shout of the First Division play-offs and need to get back to winning ways."

Miller, whose seven goals this season include two from the penalty spot, feels that his team have a "score to settle" tomorrow against Andy Hessenthaler's Priestfield Stadium outfit that are three places below the Blues in the table.

"We lost 1-0 to them at our place back in October. It was a big setback for us, but all credit to them, they worked very hard and got everyone behind the ball so quickly when they had to.

"A good result in the return can help make up for that. We'll be giving it our best shot. The play-offs are still within our grasp and we'll be giving it our all."

Said Royle: "Matt Holland is a big influence at this club and has done so well for me since I came here, both at the back as well as midfield. We'll miss him of course, but we've got Tommy Miller coming back and I'm sure he can do a good job."

He added: "It will be strange writing out the team-sheet without Matt's name on it."

Of the play-off situation, Royle said: "We have to go into every match regarding it as a must-win game, but no one must assume that teams ahead of us are going to win all their games. Anything can happen and we keep our play-off hopes high."

Town are unbeaten in eight league games, but have had five draws in that spell.

Royle continued: "Away from home we've tended to handle it a bit better and hopefully this will be the case at Gillingham. We should be in the top six by now and we've got to make sure that we get there."

Royle is not revealing who will captain the team in Holland's absence, but former Northern Ireland international skipper Jim Magilton is favourite.

Dutch midfield man Martijn Reuser has been under treatment for an ankle injury but he is expected to be fit.

Reuser got a first Blues goal of the season with the late equaliser against Brighton last Saturday, thanks to a spectacular long-range effort.

Gillingham have striker Mamady Sidibe away on international duty with Mali. Keeper Jason Brown is away with Wales Under 21s.

GILLINGHAM: Bartrum, Noseworthy, Hope, L Johnson, Edge, Smith, Osborn, Saunders, Shaw, Johnson, Ipoua, Spiller, Rose, Perpetuini, Southall.

IPSWICH: Marshall, Wilnis, Makin, Gaardsoe, Wright, Miller, Magilton, M Bent, Counago, Naylor, Reuser, Bowditch, D Bent, Richards, Westlake, Abidallah, Pullen.

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