One was making his debut and the other was starting a game for only the second time this season, but Stephen Kelly and Kirk Broadfoot have almost certainly played their way into Rotherham United’s side for Saturday.
Their centre-half partnership was one of the stand-out features of last weekend’s 1-0 win at Leeds United which gave new boss Neil Redfearn his first victory as Millers manager.
And they will surely be Redfearn’s preferred pairing when Rotherham entertain Bristol City in three days looking to build on the Elland Road triumph which lifted them off the foot of the Championship table.
Kelly had signed for the club just two days before the Yorkshire derby, and Redfearn said: “I thought he was outstanding.
“The thing is with Kells, he can play anywhere across the back four. What he does is give you experience, and he’s quick so he gives you pace too. I thought Broadfoot was outstanding as well.
“Kelly’s presence gives him the confidence to go and attack things and be positive. Kelly has the pace to sweep round the back.”
Broadfoot missed the first 10 matches of the season because of a ban and his only previous start had been at Derby County on October 31.
The Millers are being linked with a move for Ipswich Town midfielder Luke Hyam before the loan window closes tonight.
The 24-year-old was being talked about as a future Premier League player, but injured his knee in January and has only just returned to fitness.
Town boss Mick McCarthy said: “If he comes back having had all the time out and gets fit and then he doesn’t play and he travels with us and he doesn’t play, travels with us and doesn’t play again, he loses all the benefit of all his rehab.
“If we can put him out for a month, which I think we probably can, and he’s happy to do it, then that’s what will happen.”
It is thought that the hamstring strain Joe Mattock picked up at Leeds could keep the left-back out for a fortnight.
“It’s a shame because I thiought he played well,” Redfearn said.
Rotherham have cover at left-back, with Norwich City youngster Harry Toffolo having just signed a loan extension.