Tommy could have been Sky Blue
TOMMY Miller today looked ahead to facing Coventry – and recalled how close he came to signing for them.The Ipswich midfielder even owned up: "I still feel a bit rotten about the way things turned out, although I definitely have no regrets about coming here.
By Mel Henderson
TOMMY Miller today looked ahead to facing Coventry – and recalled how close he came to signing for them.
The Ipswich midfielder even owned up: "I still feel a bit rotten about the way things turned out, although I definitely have no regrets about coming here."
Ten-goal Miller is a certain starter at Highfield Road tomorrow as seventh-placed Town look to stay in the hunt for a play-off place and cling to their dream of a Premiership return.
But things might have worked out very differently in the summer of 2001 when Hartlepool accepted £750,000 offers from both clubs, as well as Crewe.
Miller, 24, said: "Gordon Strachan was the Coventry
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manager at the time and he drove up to Scotch Corner, which was about half an hour from where I lived, for a chat.
"He was brilliant and came across really well. He's a well-respected figure in the game and I was keen to sign for him. I had a good feeling about going there.
"He arranged for me to go to Highfield Road on the Monday and meet the chairman, with a view to finalising a deal.
"But I was down at Ipswich on the Monday morning and, although I had every intention of going to Coventry in the afternoon, it never came to that.
"I was swayed towards Ipswich and made my decision there and then. They were offering Premiership and European football, plus I had been with the club as a schoolboy.
"I made my decision and my agent rang Coventry to tell them. I have absolutely no complaints about the way things worked out – all I'm saying is that I didn't like letting anyone down."
Miller is ready to inflict further punishment tomorrow as Town look to wipe out the memory of last week's 4-3 home defeat by Nottingham Forest, when he
He added: "I set myself a target of getting into double figures for goals this season. Now I've got ten, so I'd like to finish with 15.
"But what matters most is that we get into the play-offs. We believe it can still be done. There's always a team who sneaks in there, so why not us?"
Manager Joe Royle hopes to have Danish defender Thomas Gaardsoe back after a groin injury saw him miss the Forest game, although a similar problem could sideline experienced schemer Jim Magilton.
Gaardsoe's return could see skipper Matt Holland revert to midfield, either as Magilton's replacement or alongside him as Royle ponders his selection from a depleted squad.
Royle admitted: "We missed Thomas against Forest and we will be that bit stronger with him back. We know we're not favourites but the lads are in fine form and up for the challenge.
"We'll see how Jim is. I hope he gets the all-clear today but if not I'm prepared to give him until tomorrow. He's very important to us."
Coventry, without a win in their last six league games, are again likely to be without Moroccan midfielder Youssef Safri, who is suffering from a groin strain.
Player-boss Gary McAllister said: "Ipswich will come here looking to score goals and it should make for a free-flowing and open game."
Ipswich: Marshall, Naylor, Gaardsoe, Makin, Wilnis, Miller, Holland, Magilton, Wright, Richards, M Bent, Counago, Reuser, Bowditch, Westlake, Abidallah, Pullen.
Coventry: Montgomery, Whing, Konjic, Shaw, Gordon, Pipe, McAllister, Eustace, Pead, Bothroyd, Jansen, McSheffrey, Engonga, Davenport, Bates, Noon, Debec.
Referee: Uriah Rennie (Sheffield).