Boss Neil Redfearn took time out from his quest for signings to praise the first of Rotherham United’s new arrivals in the January transfer window.
The Millers manager is looking to bolster his defence, midfield and attack this month and handed a debut to young defender Shaw Facey at Preston North End last Saturday.
It was the right-back’s first taste of senior football in England, and Redfearn said: “I thought he did well, particularly in the first half. He is quick and he can recover.”
Facey has joined the Championship club until the end of the season from Premier League giants Manchester City. The deal was announced just hours before Rotherham’s 2-1 defeat at Deepale, but he had been on Redfearn’s radar for a while and had trained with his new teammates in the build-up to the game.
The 20-year-old, who has played for City’s MSL outfit, New York City FC, impressed from the first whistle, although he was less conspicuous in the second half when the Lilywhites moved the experienced Paul Gallagher out to his flank.
“His use of the ball was good in the first half,” Redfearn said. “He was asked to defend in the second. That right-hand side (Grant Ward, 20, was in right midfield) was quite young and maybe when Gallagher came out on that side it was too much for them,
“But they’re here to get better and it’s up to us to get the balance right.
“He played well and acquitted himself well, and what he is is athletic. He’s someone Manchester City rate highly, and we have got the benefit of getting him.
“Thankfully we got him in right at the death so he could play because we have got injury problems at right-back.”
Stephen Kelly is one of the missing full-backs as he recovers from a calf injury and is still some way from being fully fit.
Frazer Richardson was unable to play because of concussion, while Lewis Buxton has a contractual issue which needs resolving before he will be considered again.
The Millers were poised to earn a hard-fought point against Preston but conceded in the last few seconds when substitute striker Jonson Clarke-Harris headed a long thow into his own net.
“We are looking for more resilience,” Redfearn said. “We are talking about seconds not minutes when the winner went in. We need to be tougher. We have got to pick ourselves up and go again.
“We have got to pick up enough points to stay in the division. Our performances of late have been good. We just have to make sure our results mirror them.”
Several players are likely to exit AESSEAL New York Stadium before the February 1 transfer deadline to make way for fresh faces.
Greg Halford is back with the Millers after his loan spell at Birmingham and appears keen on returning to St Andrew’s.
The utility man, who made three appearances from the bench for the Blues, was Rotherham’s big summer signing under previous boss Steve Evans, but was dropped and stripped of the captaincy after seven games.
The 31-year-old said on Twitter: “Whatever happens now with me, it’s been an honour to put on a Birmingham shirt this last month. I hope to see you all very soon.”
Rotherham, who remain a place above the drop zone, are in FA Cup third-round action on Saturday at Leeds United.