Grimsby Town v Dartford: Mariners won't take Darts lightly in FA Trophy semi-final - Miller
“DARTFORD aren’t just going to come here, roll over and let us tickle their bellies.”
That’s the message from centre-half Ian Miller who wants to help take Grimsby Town’s supporters to a fourth Wembley final in the club’s history.
Victory over the Darts in this afternoon’s FA Trophy semi-final at Blundell Park will ensure the Mariners have one foot in next month’s final.
But with the away second leg to follow, Miller is warning against any complacency from the Conference leaders.
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“No-one in our changing room will need to be told what prize is at stake or not to underestimate a Dartford side that have proven they can beat sides like Luton,” he said.
“People might think it’s a nice route for us – a semi-final at home and away to Dartford.
“But they’ve earned their place in the last four, as we have, and it will be a very tough two-legged affair.
“Thinking it’s job done already would be very narrow-minded. Dartford aren’t just going to come here, roll over and let us tickle their bellies – that’s not going to happen.
“They’re going to roll up their sleeves, get in our faces and try to get to Wembley as much as us.
“Their 2-0 win here earlier this season should serve as a warning – although I wasn’t playing in that game!”
Miller has already tasted FA Trophy glory at Wembley, with Mark Cooper’s Darlington in 2011.
And he says the chance of playing at the home of English football is a great incentive for his team-mates who haven’t appeared there before.
“You can’t be too blinkered and not think of Wembley because it is only 180 minutes away, but as the cliche says, you’ve got to take each game as it comes,” he added.
“Hopefully our home crowd see us through today and we can finish the job at Dartford.
“When you get to the final that’s all people remember, so if we play scrappy over these two legs and win 1-0, we’ll take that.
“As long as we give the Grimsby fans the chance to travel down and enjoy themselves in London, we’ll be happy.”
After a frustrating first half to the season, Miller has resumed his rock-solid centre-back partnership with Shaun Pearson.
And, with a league and trophy double still very much alive, the 29-year-old admits it could yet be a stand-out campaign in his career.
Miller said: “It wasn’t ideal for me being out of the team for so long. There was only one thing I could do, and I did it on the training ground.
“I love playing football, that’s why I’m a professional footballer – keeping clean sheets is what I enjoy most.
“If we get promoted this season and win the FA Trophy people won’t remember the 15-20 games that I missed.
“People might recall the volley I scored off the post at home to Lincoln, but no one will remember Buxton away on a bitterly cold night – although I did score the winner that night as well!”
See the Telegraph next week for Ian Miller’s memories of Wembley glory in 2011.