NO-one was more surprised to see Tommy Miller appear as a half-time substitute on Saturday than the Town midfielder himself, writes Derek Davis.Miller has been out of action since aggravating an injury against West Ham six weeks ago and apart from 45 minutes for the reserves 10 days ago had not played since.
NO-one was more surprised to see Tommy Miller appear as a half-time substitute on Saturday than the Town midfielder himself, writes Derek Davis.
Miller has been out of action since aggravating an injury against West Ham six weeks ago and apart from 45 minutes for the reserves 10 days ago had not played since.
He said: "I was surprised enough to be on the bench. I have only had about six days full training and half a reserve game so I definitely didn't think I would be involved."
A calf and shin injury to Jim Magilton forced Town to put Miller on stand-by on Friday afternoon. With Ian Westlake already going on for Alan Mahon, Miller was flung on to replace the Town skipper, who could not continue.
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Now, instead of playing against Derby's second string on Tuesday, Miller (above) is likely to start against Crystal Palace tomorrow.
On Saturday, the Town man was booked within 10 seconds of going on after a late challenge on Darel Russell. He admitted: "I couldn't believe it. I'm not one for getting booked a lot yet whenever Hartlepool were on Sky I got booked and now here as well. It was down to a bit of rustiness and over-eagerness but the referee was right, I was late."
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And Miller believed referee Paul Armstrong got it right again when he waved away a claim for a penalty when the Town midfielder went down under a Clive Clarke challenge – but the Stoke skipper had nicked the ball away.
Miller said: "I have seen them given but if it had been given against us I would have been upset, the ref was spot on."
He went close to nabbing his second goal of an injury-racked season but was thwarted by the outstanding goalkeeper Neil Cutler. Miller said: "I played a quick one-two with Pablo Counago and hit the shot low but the keeper got down to it well and pushed it away. It was a good save but perhaps if I had been a bit sharper I would have got it into the corner. I had a couple more shots blocked and put one over the bar so I could have scored. In fact, as a team, we could have had six or seven."
The 24-year-old admitted to tiring towards the end of the game but felt no reaction yesterday. He said: "It felt fine and I'm hoping to play on Tuesday although I need games.
"I have got in the deep end a bit but I would rather be doing this than playing in the reserves, which I would have been doing on Wednesday. Hopefully Jim and Alan will get back sooner rather than later but it doesn't look too good at the moment."