Tommy thrilled by chase
TOMMY Miller gazes at the framed shirts adorning the walls of his study - a daily reminder of life in the Premiership.More than anything else, the 26-year-old midfielder wants to return there and the thought of possibly being just one game away clearly excites him.
TOMMY Miller gazes at the framed shirts adorning the walls of his study - a daily reminder of life in the Premiership.
More than anything else, the 26-year-old midfielder wants to return there and the thought of possibly being just one game away clearly excites him.
Miller arrived at Portman Road from Hartlepool in 2001 and his first season had the worst possible ending as Town exited the top-flight after an up and down two-year stay.
But he said: “While relegation was a horrible feeling, I still look back on my one season as a Premiership player with a great deal of pride.
“I had to bide my time before I got in, but I remember playing at some of the big grounds, like Highbury, Anfield and Upton Park and playing against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United at our place.
“Yes, I collected the shirts. I've got Patrick Vieira's, Steven Gerrard's, Joe Cole's, Frank Lampard's and Roy Keane's - it means a lot to me that I was out there alongside those guys.”
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Miller, who has an impressive 15 goals to his credit this season, isn't kidding himself and fully accepts Ipswich might struggle if they make it to the Premiership next season.
But nothing will stand in the ambitious midfielder's way of attempting to reclaim the top flight as his stage.
He added: “Of course it might be difficult to stay in the Premiership but that is no reason for not wanting to get into that league in the first place.
“You can see how last season's promoted teams are all near the bottom, fighting for their lives.
“Even if, say, Norwich end up going down I can guarantee that if you asked their players they would all say how much they have enjoyed the experience.
“You want to play against the best teams and the best players at the best grounds. Once you have tasted a bit of that it's no surprise that you want more.
“I want to play at Old Trafford, for example, but there are so many fantastic stadiums in the Premiership and I want to play at them all.”
Miller could be just 90 minutes away from booking that return ticket, depending on how Town fare at Brighton and whether rivals Wigan slip up at home to Reading.
He said: “It is such a massive game and I really can't wait to get out there and get on with it. But it's not going to be an easy game.
“Brighton have something to play for. They need a point to ensure they don't go down, so it's not just about us.
“But the confidence is pretty high after our win over Crewe last week. All we can do is concentrate on doing our job and try to get all three points.
“If it's not enough and we are in the play-offs, fine. There will still be plenty of belief that we can win them - and why not?”
Boss Joe Royle's only worry is whether Jason De Vos is going to recover in time from a sickness bug that has confined him to bed since last weekend.
Another victim, Richard Naylor, trained yesterday and will maintain his ever-present league record at the Withdean Stadium.
If De Vos misses out, Royle is likely to draft in fit-again Guinea international Drissa Diallo for his first senior start since December.