Can the wanderers return to success?

NEVER go back.Wise advice or superstitious claptrap?Ipswich Town supporters are divided about the return of both Pablo Counago and Tommy Miller and only time will tell which camp is right.

By Derek Davis

NEVER go back.

Wise advice or superstitious claptrap?

Ipswich Town supporters are divided about the return of both Pablo Counago and Tommy Miller and only time will tell which camp is right.


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Another group has emerged, happy to welcome back one but not the other.

Much depends on what they thought of the player when they left but if you start from the premise that a player was good enough first time round then they should do well a second time, or in Miller's case a third.

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But in football it is rare that players going back to a club become a roaring success all over again.

The last Town player before this duo to try a second stint was James Scowcroft - and it is fair to say that his loan spell from Leicester City did not go as well as everyone hoped.

Another to try to recapture the old magic was Jason Dozzell. He was Ipswich's youngest-ever debut-maker and went on to make 400 appearances for the Blues before going to Spurs.

Injuries restricted his chances at White Hart Lane and in five years he played only 99 games before returning to Portman Road briefly - and not too impressively.

He went to Northampton and ended his playing career at Colchester and is now manager at Leiston.

Two players who did have considerably more success second time around were John Wark and Ray Crawford.

In Wark's case he had three leaving parties, although he is still a regular visitor to the training ground and helps out with shooting practice.

The Scotland international was part of Bobby Robson' revolution and left after an incredibly successful time to join Liverpool in 1984 before returning four years later.

He stayed another two years before going to Middlesbrough for a season but never settled. Once again East Anglia called and he rejoined Ipswich as a coach in September 1991 only to turn out as a central defender a month later.

The Scot did well and kept his place in the side that went on to win the old Division Two title and played in the Premier League's inaugural season.

It is fair to say he was a success and to this day remains a legend and an inspiration.

Going back even further, Crawford enjoyed two stints with Ipswich Town and in his first season hit 25 goals in 30 games as he developed a terrific understanding with Ted Phillips.

In his initial five-year stint Crawford played a huge part in helping the Blues win promotion and then the Championship under Sir Alf Ramsey, weighing in with 40 of the 100 goals the team scored that season.

He left for Wolves in 1963 and then West Brom only to return in 1966 for a three-year stint where the goals continued to flow and he was again a popular and successful star before switching to Charlton.

Two other players had unremarkable double stays at Portman Road - Roger Wasahlo and Australian keeper Andy Petterson.

For Miller it is actually the third time he has journeyed to Portman Road to become an Ipswich Town player.

As an aspiring youth product Miller was deemed too slight and not quite good enough by the Blues coaching staff and the heart-broken 15-year-old returned to his native north-east.

Showing a deep-rooted determination and encouraged by his dad he blossomed at Hartlepool before being signed by George Burley.

When Town failed to win promotion in 2005 they lost a clutch of key players, including Miller, who had weighed in with 15 goals that season.

If he can recreate that sort of form then his third spell will be happier than his first.

It will be the same for Pablo Counago who showed the Blues his best form when scoring 21 goals and winning one of the Player of the Year awards in the 2002/03 season. Recreate that and everyone will be smiling.

It will be no coincidence that Miller and Counago are compatible and linked up well in the past so they can show Town fans that going back can be a good thing.

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