Bury boss David Flitcroft is the perfect man for me - Tommy Miller
THE arrival of David Flitcroft has certainly put a smile on the face of Tommy Miller, who admitted he had “hated” life under previous manager Kevin Blackwell.
Miller, aged 34, has made 17 appearances for the Shakers since signing in the summer, but says it is only since the new Bury boss took charge four games ago that he has actually started to enjoy playing at the JD Stadium.
“He (David Flitcroft) wants to play football, which is perfect for me as I want the ball on the floor,” said Miller, who was made captain in Craig Jones’s absence for the Boxing Day draw at home to Scunthorpe.
“It’s no good in the air. A lot of games this season have been like rugby and, to be fair, I’ve hated it.
“But I feel great now.”
Miller has more than 550 senior games under his belt, playing in the top tier with Ipswich and Sunderland after starting his career at Hartlepool in his native North East.
More recently, the ball-playing centre-midfielder has plied his trade lower down the pyramid, joining the Shakers after a season with Swindon, but was still considered to be a great acquisition at League Two level when Blackwell snapped him up on a free transfer.
Yet Miller admits to harbouring some regrets about his decision to move to the JD Stadium before the recent change in manager.
“I wasn’t enjoying it,” he said.
“Even the games I was winning I was going home thinking ‘I didn’t really enjoy that, I didn’t get involved’.
“But I have been getting more on the ball and I have actually enjoyed the games, which is great for me, even if we haven’t got the wins.”
Miller is not the only old-stager to be rejuvenated under Flitcroft, with former Welsh international full-back Gareth Roberts returning to the first team on Boxing Day for his first outing since late September.
The Bury boss may not have had much choice, due to injuries in his defence, but Miller believes his 35-year-old team-mate put in the kind of dogged, disciplined display against Scunthorpe he was always capable of but unable to show under Blackwell.
“He’s come in from the cold and done very well,” said Miller of the former Tranmere and Derby County defender, who was made Bury captain at the start of the campaign before being dropped and completely frozen out of the first-team picture.
“It’s hard for lads who have been out of the team, not been in the squad and having problems with the club maybe.
“But he wants to play football, it’s as simple as that.
“He’s come here and he was made captain and things didn’t work out for him at the beginning of the season. It’s been like that for all of us though, I mean it was a struggle.
“But he’s come in and been excellent.”
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