Miller Confident Former Boss Hurst Can Make Step Up
Thursday, 31st May 2018 12:51
Former Blues defender Ian Miller says he believed new Town boss Paul Hurst was someone with the ability to manage at a much higher level during his time playing for him at Grimsby.
Miller was at Portman Road from 2006 until 2008 having been recruited from Bury Town by Jim Magilton but made only one senior sub appearance for the Blues.
The centre-half, now 34, played for Boston United (loan) and Darlington before linking up with Hurst at Grimsby, then in the Conference, between January 2012 and July 2013 before spells with Cambridge and Braintree.
“I first came in contact with Paul Hurst back in 2012 when I signed at Grimsby Town and he was joint-manager with Rob Scott at the time,” Miller told BBC Radio Suffolk.
“He was very much a down-to-earth, low-key, one objective, ‘this is what we want to achieve’ type manager.
“And that was a main reason for me signing at Grimsby. He had goals that he’d set and he knew exactly how he was going to go about obtaining those goals.
“I was in a funny situation because I’d just left Darlington and I’d fallen out of love with the game due to the fact that we’d had another administration, so he very much took me back to where I was as a young kid in terms of making it realistic about what we wanted to obtain.
“Training sessions were always very much tactical and informative and fun in that the sessions he put on would be bright and what you wanted as a player, not long and drawn out processes which weren’t enjoyable.
“And then when we went into games he always did his homework on the opposition, how he’d combat what they had to offer and as a player you were going into a game knowing exactly what you were coming up against.
“And that’s what I loved as a player, knowing that we’d done our homework and knew how were going to go about getting three points.”
He says Hurst has shown in his previous jobs that he is able to galvanise a squad and is a manager who looks at the fine detail which can turn games.
“I’ve followed his career from when I had my time with him and how he’s gone on,” he added.
“At Shrewsbury they were struggling with relegation the season before last and he’s obviously been able to gel a team together that was low on confidence and start picking up points.
“And from there to go as close as he has with Shrewsbury this year, falling at Wembley [in the play-off final], but you could see from [Sunday], stuff like their goal, that freekick, that epitomises Paul Hurst.
“It was a clever freekick which he will work on in training because he knows very small margins are going to give him the edge come the Saturday.
“And that kind of sums up what he and [his assistant] Chris Doig will do in that they will be well-drilled, well-organised and will work on phases of play and set pieces because they know that a large percentage of goals in games can be won at those vital times.”
Miller says he thought Hurst was capable of making a step up from what’s now the Vanarama National League during their time together at Blundell Park.
“I always found that he was technically and tactically far more advanced than where we working at Grimsby,” he continued.
“And he was very knowledgable and very good at man-management. If he can speak to individuals on a personal basis and players know his office door is always open, you always have the respect from day one from the players.
“I think is really important, not where it’s a bit of lottery on a particular day, ‘Where am going to be playing? Does he like me? Does he not like me?’. Things that players worry about all the time.
“And he’s proven that he can get the best out of players on every level. I know that he was at Boston with a few of my friends and got results with a very average set of players and as he’s going up the pyramid he’s doing exactly the same thing with better players.
“So a move to a club as big as Ipswich Town I think would be a dream move for him, where he can show off exactly what he’s about as an individual, as a manager, as a tactician and show the Championship, and hopefully beyond, what he can achieve.”
Miller has no doubt Hurst will have no problem translating that ability to get the best out of players to those of greater quality at a higher level at Town.
“He earns players’ respect with the way that he comes across,” he reflected. “The way that he will carry himself on the training ground, how he will get involved in sessions, how he will demand a lot from players, how he will go in on day one of pre-season and make sure they’re up there with the fittest teams in the Championship.
“Players like to know where they stand and however good, however many millions of pounds a player has been sold for, if you know that and you know exactly where you stand and you’re pulling in the same direction, then I don’t think he’s going to have any problem whatsoever with dealing with a better standard of footballer.”
He says Hurst’s proven record of working to a budget will serve him well at Town, where funds will continue to be very limited when compared to the majority of clubs in the Championship.
“I’m sure that he’s got a list of players that he’s been watching and would like to have in on a day-to-day basis,” he added.
“I’m sure that he will be rubbing his hands in excitement, seeing the type of personnel down at Playford Road and also the facilities that are available at Ipswich Town.”
Miller feels Hurst’s knowledge of the lower divisions and non-league will prove to be very useful to him at Town.
“One hundred per cent,” he said. “I was lucky to have a career of just over 10 years playing professional football and that was because a manager of Ipswich Town took a punt on a rough diamond from non-league and I think we’re seeing that more and more with the likes of Nick Pope and Jamie Vardy that have come through the non-league ranks.
“For him to have managed at that lower level, he will know exactly what players need to be able to take the step up and also that desire and that hunger from those players to actually make a living and a career from playing professional football.”
Miller believes his old boss will prove to be a good fit at Town, a club he believes shouldn’t be content with remaining in the second tier as they go into their 17th season at that level: “Ipswich is a football club which shouldn’t just be happy with playing Championship football.
“And all the fans know where they want to be and I think sometimes a fresh face is a good starting platform for them to go on and start afresh again and see where the journey will take them.”
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