Joe Mills fishing for win over brother Matt Mills

WHILE Owen Coyle will have the inside track on the players formerly under his charge at Turf Moor, Burnley know one or two things about the Bolton squad.

Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears only departed last summer to rejoin the man who signed them for the Clarets.

But loan man Joseph Mills knows all about the strengths and weaknesses of a Wanderers new boy - dating right back to kickabouts in the garden as a child!

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Matt Mills joined Bolton after an unhappy spell with Leicester, and he will come up against younger brother Joseph tomorrow - or “Fish” as he christened him.

Joseph explained: “When I was born, Matt was only about two, and tried to say Joseph, and it came out Joe-fish.

“Ever since then it’s stuck with me, through school, parents, everything.

“I don’t have a nickname for him unfortunately!

“We’re very close, I have three brothers, but me and Matt are the closest in age.

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“He’s always moved about, but we speak to each other pretty much every day.

“I learned to jump high in the back garden, trying to avoid him taking me out.

“With four boys, it didn’t stay a garden for long, it was a mud pit.

“We had a gas cannister and toy car for goalposts, a washing line for crossbar, happy days!”

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The Mills family will have divided loyalties tomorrow, but mum Julie and dad Colin have a prior engagement, and Joseph smiled: “I’m not happy with them at the moment - they agreed to go to a wedding a year ago, so this will be the first game we’ve played against each other that they’ve missed.

“Both our girlfriends will be there, so we’ll have some people there.

“But my mum hates it, she gets so nervous watching football, but my dad’s not too bad.

“Even if she came she’d probably sit inside!

“My dad just stays neutral and wants us both to do well.”

Joseph and Matt were in contact as recently as Wednesday - but the match is off limits: “We speak to each other like normal but as it gets closer to the time we’ll be speaking to each other less and less, giving away less and less.

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“When Saturday comes, the family thing gets put to one side and it’s game day.

“That’s most important.

“You’ve got to put your head right for the game and go out and do your business.

“I spoke to him on Wednesday, but in the week building up nothing gets said about the game.

“On Saturday I’ll probably see him and say ‘all right’ but that will probably be it and we’ll get on with the game.

“After the game we’ll be back to normal.

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“We won’t speak to each other from about 24 hours before the game. We’ll be getting our minds focused.”

The pair have a win each to their names, and Joseph is keen to take the lead in their mini-series: “We’ve played against each other twice already – I’ve won once and he’s won once and there hasn’t been too much stick given.

“I don’t think I’d start now, but it’s always nice to know that you’ve won the game.”

A good start to the season tomorrow would be a major boost, but Joseph is well aware it’s not the be all and end all, after Reading recovered from a poor opening to lift the title: “It’s one of those leagues where if you put together a good run of form for five, 10, 15 games, you can shoot up the table 10 places.

“It’s not that easy to do, but clubs have done it.

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“Reading didn’t have a good start last season and were in the bottom three for a while, but as long as you have the team spirit and know you can do it, it’s about putting it into practice.

“It’s always nice to get off to a flier and see your name up at the top. It’s not imperative, but it’s nice.

“But we’ll be going into every game thinking we can win it.”

• The Burnley Express has launched a FREE football app which is now available to download on iPhone and Android devices.