Manager Alan Stubbs can’t wait to welcome back the “no-nonsense” defender he admits his Rotherham United team have missed this season.
Kirk Broadfoot is closing in on a first-team return after a back condition flared up in the August 6 opening-day Championship showdown with Wolves.
The Millers have been deprived of one of their most important players as the centre-half recovered from surgery, but the 32-year-old was due to resume full training this week and has an outside chance of making the squad for Saturday’s visit to second-placed Norwich City.
“It’s fair to say we have missed a Kirk Broadfoot type of player,” Stubbs said. “He’s what you’d call a no-nonsense defender. He puts his body on the line and does the simple things in terms of defending. He’s uncomplicated.”
The Canaries clash is likely to come too soon for Broadfoot to be considered for a start, although he is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and Stubbs is counting down the days until the former Scottish international is available to him.
“We have missed his presence in the backline,” added Stubbs whose side are in bottom spot but went into the two-week international break on the back of encouraging performances against leaders Huddersfield Town and third-placed Newcastle United.
“At times, we have been young, and sometimes young players can need a bit of guidance, not just from a physical point of view but from a vocal point of view, telling them where to be.
“There are certain times in games where you need that experienced head just to settle things down.”
Dael Fry, aged 19, and Dominic Ball, 21, have been the Millers’ centre-half pairing in the last two matches.
Ideally, Stubbs wants Broadfoot, who spent last week doing conditioning work, to play in a development game before making his full comeback.
Stubbs gave his squad last weekend off, but they have been training as usual this week before heading to Carrow Road in search of their first away point of the season.
Young Rotherham striker Kuda Muskwe has moved up a level from Stocksbridge Park Steels, where he scored five goals during a temporary spell, to join Evo-Stick League Premier Division Grantham Town on a month’s loan.
A young Rotherham reserves side lost 3-0 at Chesterfield yesterday.
Meanwhile, the club welcomed former top-flight defender Francis Benali to New York Stadium this week.
The ex-Southampton full-back, now aged 47, is running and cycling to every Premier League and Championship ground in just a fortnight to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Stubbs said: “It is an incredible challenge and for a very worthy cause. Cancer is a disease which touches everyone and I wish Franny well on what will be an unbelievably difficult and painful feat.”
Two years ago, Benali ran from Newcastle to Southampton, stopping off at every Premier League club, and raised £265,000 for the same charity.