Former Manchester City starlet Ishmael Miller hoping for Nottingham Forest redemption

Manchester City fans will remember Ishmael Miller as a bright young prospect, but now he is 26 it is time for him to kick on at Nottingham Forest.

If Ishmael Miller does not hit the heights he once aspired to, he may find himself cursing his bad luck early in his career.

The striker's imposing physical stature saw him stand out among Manchester City's youth teams, and fast-tracked onto the first team scene.

Unfortunately this rise coincided with City's takeover by Thaksin Shinawatra, with foreign imports brought into block his path to the first team, Rolando Bianchi one example.

Miller found himself loaned to Championship side West Brom, where he impressed, scoring seven minutes into his debut in a 2-0 win over Preston, form he continued, earning himself a call-up to England's under-21 side.

Seven months after Shinawatra's arrival, Miller found himself sold on a permanent basis to the Baggies for just £1.4 million, despite signing a new contract with City in between. 

He helped West Brom win promotion, and in the Premier League continued to show promise, scoring three goals and creating two others in the opening months of the 2008/09 season.

And then disaster struck. The footballer's nightmare of a cruciate knee ligament injury.

It was a bad one too, keeping him out of action for 13 months, and he has never really recovered to the level he was showing before his injury.

By time Miller came back, West Brom were back in the Championship, but a division he once excelled in suddenly would become a tough proposition.

He was loaned to QPR, scoring just once in 12 games, as the Baggies were once again promoted. He had six opportunities as a substitute back in the Premier League in 2010/11 but failed to grasp any of them.

Miller found himself sold to Nottingham Forest, to revitalise his career, but it did not pan out as planned, scoring just four goals in 23 appearances.

He was deemed surplus to requirements at the City Ground last summer and loaned to Middlesbrough, where another moderate return of six in 30 games simply showed another year of his career plateauing.

This season Miller is hoping it can be different, and wants to show Nottingham Forest he is worth keeping around.

He was backed at the tail end of last season by former Forest favourite David Johnson who said: "Hopefully Ishmael will come back and feel refreshed; as though he has a point to prove. On his day, he is a handful.

"He probably just needs to turn the page and say to himself 'my Nottingham Forest career starts today'."

That day may just have taken place, for at the weekend Miller hit the winner in the club's opening pre-season friendly win over Hibernian.

It's just a small sign, but it could give the striker the confidence he needs heading into the rest of the summer, and if he can seize his opportunity, then firing Forest into the promotion chase is not beyond him.

For a striker who has had his share of bad luck, it's time for him to step up and make his career story a positive one rather than a sad tale.

image: © stadiumguide

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