Midfield lynchpin Tommy Miller's hopes for an Indian summer in Bury
TOMMY Miller has his sights set on reaching 600 career games with Bury after recently passing another milestone with the JD outfit.
The Shakers’ 1-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers at the start of this month was the veteran midfielder’s 500th league game.
The 35-year-old playmaker is expecting to figure in his 502nd league game and 576th match in total when Bury take on Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
And while he admits this season has felt like a slog at times, Miller is starting to flourish under new manager David Flitcroft and is now hopeful of enjoying an Indian summer at Bury.
“I may have played 501 league games, but I keep telling everyone that I have played nearly 600 games in total,” he joked.
“Milestones are something I will maybe look back on when I finish, but I don’t really think about it now.
“I keep looking after myself, and the gaffer has got someone alongside me who can do my running, so I am happy and I keep on going.
“I feel healthy and injury-free and, hopefully, long may that continue and we will see where it takes us.”
Miller’s career started as a trainee with Hartlepool in his native North East. Over the subsequent 17 years he has played at eight different clubs, competing in the Premier League with Ipswich and Sunderland, and scoring 109 goals in the process.
His game has evolved since his days as a box-to-box player, now holding Bury’s midfield together and setting the tempo for Flitcroft’s passing style.
It is a role he relishes, but Miller admits that the recent weather conditions, and the state of the pitch at the JD Stadium, have made his task all the more difficult.
“It is hard to play football on that pitch,” he said. “It may not look like it from the stands, but it is very, very heavy.
“We have some good footballers at this club now and the gaffer wants us to play football, it’s as simple as that.
“We knock it around well but the pitch is causing a few problems.
“We are trying to do things first time but the ball is not coming at you properly, it is rolling funny and bouncing up awkwardly, so it’s tough, but we will get on with it.”
Despite the tough conditions, Bury have started to pick up points.
They are unbeaten in eight league matches at home and, after drawing with Oxford last time out, Miller is confident they will soon have their sights on the top half of the table.
“It’s very tight,” he added. “A couple of wins gets you up there and we are hoping we can get the points on the board to drag us away from the lower reaches of the table, starting with Bristol Rovers on Saturday.”