THE GUV’NOR - Miller aims to nurture Walker at Hartlepool Utd just as he was

Brad Walker celebrates his goal for Hartlepool United against Bradford AFC during the 1-1 draw at Valley Parade. Picture by FRANK REID
Brad Walker celebrates his goal for Hartlepool United against Bradford AFC during the 1-1 draw at Valley Parade. Picture by FRANK REID

TOMMY Miller believes he can help nurture rising Hartlepool United star Brad Walker in the same way others helped him 13 years ago.

This summer the 35-year-old re-joined Pools, the club he left more than a decade ago when he moved to Ipswich Town for a club record fee of £750,000.

Since leaving Victoria Park in 2001 Miller has gone on to make more than 500 league appearances across all four divisions of English football.

So he is well placed to be able to pass on his wealth of experience to the next generation.

Miller says there is a lot of potential in the Pools squad and has highlighted 18-year-old Brad Walker as one to watch.

The pair have played alongside each other in the opening two matches of the new season and Miller says there are similarities when he first broke through into the first team at Pools.

During his first stint Miller was “guided” in the right direction by the likes of Paul Stephenson - who played 170 games for the club - and Mark Tinkler who played 245 games over seven years.

Shotton Colliery-born Miller can see the similarities between then and now, with him helping the younger players including Walker who broke into the first team at Pools last season.

Miller, who is wearing the Number 10 shirt this season, told SportMail: “Brad is in the team and he had a good season last year.

“I have heard a lot of good things about him and he has shown that in training while I have been here.

“I have enjoyed playing with Brad and enjoyed the pre-season games with him.

“He has a lot, is a big lad, and is only 18 years old.

“There are some similarities when I came through at Pools and I had someone in there to help me along - the likes of Paul Stephenson and Mark Tinkler.

“I’m hoping to help him in that same way, to guide him a little bit and keep him right.

“He is still learning the game, is still only young but his potential is massive.

“Brad did really well the first half hour at Stevenage but as the game wore on it became a battle.

“You will get a lot of games like that this season but they are one of the best sides at doing it.

“There are a lot of other good young players at the club as well and my job is to help and encourage them to push on as well.

“I have seen some good talent.”

Miller, who has also played for Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon Town and Bury, made his second debut for Pools in the 1-0 defeat at Stevenage on Saturday.

He then played the full 90 minutes in Tuesday night’s 6-2 thrashing at Port Vale, a miserable night for all concerned.

Up next for Colin Cooper’s side is Bury at Victoria Park in Sky Bet League Two this weekend - Miller’s former side.

The midfielder was released this summer by Bury, who will have ex-Pools forward James Poole in their squad after he signed non-contract terms.

Captain Matthew Bates has already labelled the game “huge” given Pools have lost their opening two matches of the new season.

Looking ahead to the match, Miller told SportMail: “Bury have got a few players in, they will be up there come the end no doubt.

“They have spent a bit of money and I am looking forward to coming up against them.

“I will give the manager a few pointers if he asks.

“They do have a few new faces.”