Grateful striker Danny Ward is determined to repay Rotherham United for helping put his career back on track.
The 23-year-old, who can play anywhere across the forward line, was snapped up by the Millers in January after falling out of favour at Huddersfield Town.
And he can’t wait for the start of his first full season at AESSEAL New York Stadium on August 8 when he should be a key player for the Championship club who have given him a new lease of life.
“I’m definitely excited about what next season could bring,” he said. “It was hard at Huddersfield because I wasn’t playing. It was just training and knowing I wasn’t going to play at the weekend. It’s hard to keep that motivation.
“But coming to Rotherham and knowing I was going to be involved at the weekends gave me massive confidence. It makes you want to work hard and be ready.”
Ward worked tirelessly with Millers fitness coach Paul Warne after his arrival at Rotherham and, despite injury niggles restricting his game time, was a major factor in them staying up last term despite a Football League three-point deduction.
The attacker scored crucial goals and set up Matt Derbyshire and Lee Frecklington for the strikes which guaranteed the Millers’ survival in the 2-1 home win over Reading.
He has featured in every pre-season game so far and has his sights set on a starting place when the Millers kick off their second-tier campaign in 16 days at home to MK Dons.
“It’s really good here and I’m really looking forward to the start of the season,” he said.
“Pre-season has been all right! Obviously, pre-season is pre-season! It’s good to get involved in games again and get those under our belts. I’m feeling good, touch wood. I’m feeling ready to go.
“I’ve just got to keep myself in good shape and get ready for the games.”
Former Millers loan left-back Reece James has joined League One Wigan Athletic from Manchester United on a three-year deal, while former Charlton utility man Lawrie Wilson, who finished last season on loan at New York Stadium, is training with Bolton Wanderers.