It’s not often a player makes his international debut and gets a free transfer at the same time but that was the experience of Rotherham United defender Mark Bradley.
The club who let him go, Walsall, just happen to be Rotherham United’s opponents on Saturday and so it is rather understandable that the 25-year-old would love the opportunity to go back to his former club as the Millers seek to extend their unbeaten league run.
It was three years ago that, having been a regular at Under 21 level for Wales, Bradley got a call up to the full Welsh squad and after being an unused sub in one game, got an appearance in Croatia in midfield with Luka Modric amongst the opposition.
However, that same Summer, Wals,,all had given him a free transfer to make it a bitter sweet few weeks.
He came to Rotherham as a midfielder but it is as a utility defender, though essentially as a right back, that he has secured a first team spot.
However, a doubt over a playing return to his former club this weekend centres on the fact that he hasn’t got the right back spot right now!
A groin injury suffered at Notts County saw him miss out for the Sheffield United game and summer signing Richard Brindley come in and he kept the shirt for last Saturday’s win over Oldham Athletic although Bradley was fit and on the subs’ bench.
His initial position with Rotherham was in midfield but former manager Andy Scott did not anticipate him being part of his plans and so told him he was free to get another club if he wished.
He stayed on but under Steve Evans, with so many new signings coming in, he didn’t look to have much of a future and looked set to go. But he remained, his value as a player who had covered a few positions - both full back spots and centre defence in addition to midfield. Having someone who can slot into different positions if required is always valuable.
Whether he gets back the right back spot at Walsall on Saturday remains to be seen but he will certainly be in the squad and perhaps someone with just a little extra incentive on the day.