Matt Mills aims to cement his Bolton Wanderers return
MATT Mills admits he was close to leaving Wanderers at the start of the season but now the defender is desperate to pitch in and fight.
Both Leeds and Blackpool attempted to take the centre-half on loan in the last few months only to fail to meet the Whites’ financial demands.
But back in a Championship starting line-up for the first time since December 2012, the former Leicester City man is now desperate to keep his place for tomorrow night’s clash with Derby County and rebuild a Reebok career that looked to have gone completely off the rails.
“I am 27 and for me to be playing regular football is a big thing,” Mills said. “Obviously, at the start of the season, it didn’t look like it was going to happen.
“But I have always said to the manager, this is the place I want to be and the team I want to fight for. And I have stayed at Bolton and, fingers crossed, that can continue to happen.”
Mills arrived at Wanderers last summer having been frozen out by Leicester City and forced to train for four months with the youth team by Foxes boss Nigel Pearson.
And while he has again found himself forced on to the periphery of the squad at Bolton following a hamstring injury last season, Mills reckons he has always believed there was a route back into the starting team.
“My situation at Leicester was unique,” he said. “I don’t think that will happen to anyone in their career. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
“This time it’s been different. I got an injury and the team went on a fantastic run last year and so I am not going to knock on the manager’s door if the team is winning. But when results aren’t going so well the manager will make changes and all you can do is come in and try to do your job the best you can and fight for the team.
“My performances could be questioned, like anyone, with decisions on the ball or this pass or other. But what I do bring to the team is 110 per cent commitment. I feel like I bring that to the team.”
Mills was part of the Reading side that famously fought back from a terrible start to the season to get promotion in 2012 and he refuses to write off Wanderers’ own chances completely.
“It’s not the first time it has happened in my career but you have to keep fighting. Once you create that atmosphere in a squad where players are competing and really fighting to keep their place that’s when you get competition in the team and the team can move forward,” he said. “I think we have that at the club.
“But it’s all well and good talking about it, we need to get a result and we are fully aware of that. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have got to stick together.
“On Saturday I thought the crowd’s reaction in the second half to what we were trying to do was fantastic. It was just disappointing we didn’t get that opportunity to get back into the game and to go on and win it.
“We have been playing at this level long enough now to know what it is about. It's about characters who are prepared to come in, stand up and fight. We certainly need that.”