FC Halifax Town: Miller and Harvey ‘on the same page’

FC Halifax Town v Welling at The Shay Saturday January 30 2016. Tommy Miller (left) and Jim Harvey
FC Halifax Town v Welling at The Shay Saturday January 30 2016. Tommy Miller (left) and Jim Harvey

Tommy Miller’s time at FC Halifax Town neatly encapsulates the Shaymen’s whirlwind season so far.

The former Sunderland and Ipswich midfielder joined the club in mid-October during Darren Kelly’s ill-fated reign as manager.

After just four appearances, Miller found himself on the touchline for the 4-1 win at Gateshead in his new role as assistant manager to then caretaker-boss Jim Harvey.

And Miller has remained in the post ever since, meaning his work as an academy coach at Middlesbrough has been put on the back-burner.

Miller admitted coaching wasn’t on the agenda when he arrived at The Shay, but feels he and Harvey are working well together.

He said: “I wanted to play this year first and foremost and the chance came here. I was delighted for the opportunity from Darren Kelly.

“I got in the team but then Darren lost his job and it’s all happened pretty quickly but I’m enjoying it.

“I mentioned to Jim ‘if you need any help, I’m here’ and he took that on board.

“I’ve enjoyed it, taking the training and involved in the match-day preparations.

“I thank him a lot for it. He could’ve brought someone in who he knew better or a more experienced person.

“But he said ‘it’s perfect’. We match up well, we bounce ideas off each other and it’s so far, so good.”

The 37-year-old says Harvey gives him a lot of free rein to implement his own ideas in training, with Miller taking inspiration from former managers such as Roy Keane, Mick McCarthy and Joe Royle.

“I’ve just taken things on board from what I did at previous clubs over the years,” he said.

“I’ve picked up little bits from previous managers and coaches of what they did and I’ve tried to integrate them all together.

“I like teams to play with a fast tempo and I like to think the training has been faster, the tempo’s higher.

“We’re both singing from the same page, we both want the same sort of football.

“We want winning football at the minute but in the longer term we want to play the passing game, keep the ball - we do a lot of possession-based drills in training, smaller side games and shape work.”

Miller is enjoying his role and various responsibilities as number two to Harvey.

“You have to be a bit of a link but I’m fine with that,” said Miller.

“I get on well with all the lads as Jim does, so if I pick up on anything I’ll tell Jim or I’ll relate to him what the lads have said.

“It works well.

“We both get DVD’s of different games, although he lives in Liverpool and I live in the North East so it’s quite hard to watch them together.

“Especially when we only have two hours training time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“When we went to Woking the other week we watched clips on the laptop together going down there on the bus.

“I’ve been out to a few under 21 games looking further ahead at players for next season, if we’re still here.

“My dad’s chief scout at QPR so I go to a lot of games with him as well during the week.”

Miller explained the blueprint that has seen the Shaymen rise out of the bottom four.

“We’ve sat in, had the three at the back and let teams come at us, let them have the ball in deep areas then when they come over the halfway line, engage them, get the ball back and break on teams,” he said.

“We’re good on the counter, especially when (Shaun) Tuton was here, he had a bit of pace. We’ve got Josh (Macdonald) who’s got pace, Jordan down the middle, (Richard) Peniket’s coming back, so we’ve got a lot of options now and we’re looking good going forward.

“The last game against Welling was disappointing. That was probably as poor as we’ve been, but the results previous to that have been excellent.”

Miller has been a lively figure on the touchline since graduating to the dugout, but is passionate about helping those under his tutelage improve.

“I’m on the move a lot and I get involved in the game. I try and keep myself reserved but I get a bit vocal at times,” he added.

“But I want the lads to win first and foremost. I want them to better themselves and better their careers.

“They could play higher some of them - there’s some good players there and I want to improve them and make them better characters and players.

“If it’s with Halifax, then great. If they go to bigger clubs - you never know what’s round the corner but if they improve then the team will improve.”