Hartlepool have missed out, says Miller

TOMMY Miller believes Hartlepool United have missed a golden opportunity in rejecting Tony Mowbray's bid to become their manager.The Town coach missed out to the relatively unknown Neale Cooper who was the surprise choice unveiled by Pool chairman Ken Hodcroft.

TOMMY Miller believes Hartlepool United have missed a golden opportunity in rejecting Tony Mowbray's bid to become their manager.

The Town coach missed out to the relatively unknown Neale Cooper who was the surprise choice unveiled by Pool chairman Ken Hodcroft.

Blues midfielder Miller, who signed for Ipswich from Hartlepool for around £1m, made more than 160 appearances for the north-east club and still follows their fortunes.

He said: "I'm surprised at the appointment and I'm sure many fans will be too, as they would have been expecting a higher-profile manager.

"I know of Neale but don't really know much about him. Only time will tell if he is the right choice but I hope he does well and helps Hartlepool to more success.

"They worked so hard to get into the Second Division it would be a shame to slip up now."

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Miller is convinced that Mowbray will soon get the No. 1 job that he covets so much.

He added: "I'm surprised he didn't get the Hartlepool job, it seemed a perfect match. Pool have missed out a bit there. He is a good coach, as a player he was a leader and he has taken that with him into management.

"He got a taste for it when he stood in as caretaker manager at Ipswich when George (Burley) went and he has learned even more working with Joe (Royle) and Willie (Donachie).

"I know it is disappointing for him but I'm sure another opportunity will come along and he will soon be in the manager's chair where I'm sure he will do very well."

Fit and fresh from his holiday in the Algarve, Miller is relishing the coming season.

He said: "I was ready for the break when it came but you do miss it and I'm ready to go now.

"We have a lot to look forward to and there is a positive air of anticipation. We proved we can more than match the big teams, we let ourselves down against the lesser sides.

"We went on a good run from Christmas but dropped some important points. If we can get ourselves going we can be right up there."

Cooper, 39, who resigned from his post at Ross County in November last year, was appointed after Pool sought a character reference from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. Cooper is one of a host of players from the Aberdeen side which Ferguson took to European Cup Winners' Cup glory in 1983 to have made the step into management, a list which includes the likes of Southampton boss Gordon Strachan and treble-winning Rangers supremo Alex McLeish.

Cooper, who took Ross County from Scottish League newcomers to the upper reaches of the First Division during his six-and-a-half years in charge, enjoyed huge success as a player at Pittodrie before spells with Aston Villa, Rangers, Reading and Dunfermline.

Meanwhile, former Sunderland defender Martin Scott has been promoted from youth-team manager to reserve-team boss.

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