SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Miller guns for big finish

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on 10 years ago.

TOMMY GUNS FOR PERFECT FINISH

TOMMY MILLER says Sunderland have to aim high and look to win every one of their remaining seven games this season.

The Black Cats are currently third in the Championship – only three points off top – but the midfielder reckons that they might need a maximum points haul if they are to secure automatic promotion.

With the promotion battle threatening to go right down to the wire, there are still five clubs which have a realistic chance of finishing in the top two.

Miller himself reckons the promotion race is too close to call and only a 100 per cent record in the run-in will guarantee a top two finish.

He said: “The team is flying high at the moment and picking up some great results but I think the promotion race will go right down to the last game.

“And all we can do is keep on winning our games. A lot of the teams near the top have still got to play each other and the one thing we can be sure of is that there will be a lot of twists and turns between now and the end of the season.

“It’s very tight and there are several clubs who still have a chance of making it into the play-offs, while there are a couple of clubs in the play-off places who still fancy themselves for a place in the top two.

“It could go to the last couple of games – or even the last game. It’s too close to call and I don’t think you can go guessing that we will need, say, four, five or six wins from the run-in. We just have to try and win all our games.

“If we do win all our last seven games, then I think that will definitely be enough to get us into the top two.”

Miller joined Sunderland from Ipswich in the summer of 2005 and experienced the heartbreak of relegation from the Premiership last season.

He is out of contract this summer and, if he is not offered a new deal on Wearside, he is still keen to at least end his time at the club on a high note.

He said: “Everyone was so disappointed at what happened last season. A few faces have gone but a lot of the lads who were involved are still here.

“The lads and myself would love to get the club back into the Premiership where it belongs.

“With the support we have got and with the takeover last summer, it is all set up again for us to get back in the Premiership.”

Miller has successfully returned to first-team duties after being left out by boss Roy Keane when he took over in August before spending the last six weeks of 2006 on loan at Preston.

But the 28-year-old has impressed Keane with his goalscoring form for the reserves and was recalled for Sunderland’s trip to Barnsley, when he came on as a sub, and has also been on the bench for the last two games.

Miller said: “Being involved again is a bonus and I’m really enjoying it. The manager and me agreed that I should go out on loan and get some games in, which is what I did.

“Since I’ve come back from loan I’ve worked hard, done all right in the reserve games and the manager has given me a chance to get back involved, which has been great for me.”