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Miller's merrier after ending goal drought at Boro
SOME footballers would have struggled to come back from the type of 12 month spell which Ishmael Miller endured.
But the Middlesbrough striker, on loan from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season, has always remained confident things would turn around – and on Tuesday night he was proved right.
During the last 12 months the 25-year-old has been without a goal and been forced to spend most of the time on the treatment table, trying to stay focused on when his luck might turn.
After a broken foot, two hernia operations, an ankle injury and two hamstring problems over the course of the last year, Miller finally ended his goalscoring drought in Middlesbrough's 2-0 win over Hull City.
When he bundled the loose ball over the line after the Tigers' goalkeeper Ben Amos had saved Scott McDonald's initial shot, Miller charged down the touchline towards the flag with a celebration highlighting his relief.
Not only was it his first goal for Middlesbrough, it was also the first time he had found the net since netting in a 3-1 defeat for Nottingham Forest against Birmingham City on October 2 last year.
Miller said: “I was out for months at different times, it's not that I just haven't been scoring, the injuries can get you down. It's about being on the pitch and being happy. That's the important thing – and I am.”
Thirteen minutes after his goal he was replaced and was greeted on the sidelines by handshakes and hugs from manager Tony Mowbray – who had him in his squad at West Brom - and every member of his backroom team.
“The manager and the coaching staff have seen that I have been going close,” said Miller. “They were pleased with me – and for me. It's more about me getting 90 minutes under my belt because of my injuries, not the goal.
“That's been a big thing for me. I have had a lot of injuries. I have a lot of ability and you have not seen anywhere near the best of me. I have got a lot left to show. It's about lasting 90 minutes.”
That said Miller is a striker and strikers have to score goals, so he must have wondered when the next goal would come regardless of his fitness problems.
He said: “I know when the last goal was. I am not interested in that. I am a striker, I like to score, but I am more upset when I am not getting chances. I know I will get chances.
“If you miss them you miss them, if you take them you take them. That's the primal thing. If I can get chances then I am happy, if I miss them then it's my fault but I know I am getting chances and the goals will come.
“I have had a chance in every single game I have played. I knew it was coming. I probably needed a goal like that. In the back of my mind, you go through little spells thinking 'I'm never going to score'. But then you go through spells thinking 'I can't stop scoring'. That's football. It's gone in, it's a boost but I am a confident lad anyway.”
Despite being only 25 Miller has already enjoyed three promotions from the Championship with West Brom (twice) and Queens Park Rangers since leaving Manchester City, initially on loan, in 2007.
His goal combined with Faris Haroun's opener on Tuesday meant Middlesbrough have 15 different goalscorers already this season ahead of this Saturday's visit of Bolton – a game which could see Boro go top.
Miller said: “We are shaping up well. To get a good chance of going up you need goalscorers from allsorts of areas. You need as many who can chip in because the league is very tight, it will be all season.
“I feel like the team spirit is strong whether you are playing or rested, the manager keeps changing things to suit different matches and that's keeping everyone motivated. We have got that team spirit. You need that to go far in this league.
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