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'I’m confident I can make an impact' - Super sub Miller eyes defining moment

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Shaun Miller has his eye on making a major impact on Wanderers’ promotion effort – even if he has to do so from the bench.

The 33-year-old striker has yet to start a league game for Bolton this season but that has not stopped him scoring some crucial goals as a sub, earning him the nickname ‘Ole Gunnar Miller’ on the training ground.

Miller’s winners against Southend and Barrow have been worth four points to the Whites, which is also the distance they now lead Morecambe and Tranmere going into the final two games.

Miller may have to stay readied once again to make his entrance against Exeter City on Saturday but the former Crewe man believes he has something to add even at this late stage of the campaign.

“On the bench watching games I am always looking to see where I can potentially make a difference and make an impact,” he said.

“Games at the end of the season become more tense and that is where a bit of experience and composure could make the difference.

“I’m confident I can make an impact during the remaining games.”

Wanderers know a victory on Saturday will ensure promotion regardless of what Morecambe and Tranmere do elsewhere.

Since February 6 the Whites have hauled back a 13-point deficit on the top three, surging up the league from 20th position.

They still have a shot at climbing higher and could potentially win the division despite not spending a single day in top spot over the previous eight months.

Miller believes the spirit within the dressing room since the turn of the year has been a major factor in improving fortunes on the pitch.

“The belief in the group is a massive thing. From where we were in the league, to propel ourselves up to the automatic promotion places before the last game gives everyone huge confidence,” he told the club.

“It’s also frustrating that we couldn’t have done that from the start of the season, really.

“It’s exciting to be in a fight for promotion, but in the first half of the season it looked like we would sort of be fighting at the other end of the table.

“It has been a phenomenal run to get us to where we all feel like we should have been anyway, and we are certainly where we deserve to be now.”

Ian Evatt is likely to keep tabs on results elsewhere during the game, which may well shape his decision making from the dugout.

On the pitch, Miller hopes calm heads will prevail.

“It’s just a case of reiterating that we need to keep doing what we are doing,” he said. “We don’t need to panic.

“If we are going into the latter stages of the game and it is still level we need to keep the belief and playing the proper way, really.

“We don’t really need to be lumping balls into the box, we need to keep playing the way that we do with our patient build-up and we know the chances will come.

“It’s a case of everyone staying grounded and focussing on the goal ahead as opposed to panicking and thinking of other things.”


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