Football: Miller aiming to prove a point

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The Independent Online
Alan Miller, West Bromwich Albion's man of the moment, will run out at the Riverside Stadium today with a point to prove to Middlesbrough's manager, Bryan Robson.

Miller insists the game is not a grudge match against the club which sold him to Albion for a bargain pounds 400,000 in March, but admits he was deeply disappointed with the way his career on Teesside turned out.

The London-born goalkeeper made an immediate impact as a key part of the Middlesbrough side which powered to the First Division title in 1995, but he lost his place in the team once they had moved into the Premiership.

He was then allowed to go to Albion, first on loan and then in a pounds 400,000 move. That has proved to be a master stroke by Ray Harford, with Miller producing 14 clean sheets in 32 games.

Miller said: "I was desperately disappointed after working hard and gaining promotion. That was the highlight of my career. But not getting a run of games after that was upsetting because without that you can't get your form together. If I am honest about things, that period made me find things out about myself. It was good for my attitude to training and to football in general.

"At Middlesbrough, the highs were high and the lows were very low. I couldn't really understand some of the things that went on there. I think the manager was under a lot of pressure to cut wages."

Jaime Moreno may have to wait for his chance to impress in his second spell at Middlesbrough. The Bolivian international striker is keen to help Boro's push for promotion after returning to the Riverside after a spell with Washington DC Utd, but Robson feels he may not yet be ready.

Craig Hignett has not broken his collar bone as was first feared but he has strained tendons in his shoulder and will miss the game with West Bromwich. Anthony Ormerod will replace Hignett.

Darren Williams has recovered from a head wound to retain his place in an unchanged Sunderland side for the home game against Tranmere. Michael Gray has also recovered from a groin injury.

Huddersfield's leading scorer, Marcus Stewart, returns after hamstring trouble to form a pounds 2m partnership with Wayne Allison for the first time when Bury visit the McAlpine Stadium.

The Birmingham City midfielder Martin Grainger starts a three-game ban and will miss the home match against Portsmouth. The central defender Darren Wassall will have a late fitness check on his ankle injury.

The Portsmouth striker Mathias Svensson is expected to make his first appearance in two months and the Jamaican internationals Paul Hall and Fitzroy Simpson return. Terry Fenwick's side will be without their Australians, Craig Foster, John Aloisi and Robbie Enes, who are needed for the World Cup qualifier against Iran.

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