Defender Kirk Broadfoot parted company with Rotherham United because he knew he could no longer count on being a first-team regular, boss Paul Warne has revealed.
The centre-half ended his Millers career this week, despite having a year left on his contract, to sign a three-year deal with Kilmarnock in his native Scotland.
And, according to Warne, the man who played a vital role in successive Championship survival campaigns in 2015 and 2016 accepted his days at the club were numbered.
“I think some of the players were surprised I let Broady go because they knew I was really keen on him,” the manager told The Star. “But sometimes, I think, there is a natural end to someone’s career at a club. I felt it was the right time for him to go and he agreed with me.
“He was ready to move back up the road. I couldn’t guarantee him a starting place in the team, which I told him.”
More players are likely to follow the 32-year-old Scot out of New York Stadium, with striker Dexter Blackstock and central defender Aimen Belaid among the players with a question mark hanging over their future.
“There is a possibility that another one or two will leave,” Warne said. “We’ll see. That will pan out in the next few weeks. They’re all competing for places.
“I’ve had a chat with a couple of them ... they’ll soon see they’re not part of the starting 11 or 18 and if they can get themselves another club, then fair enough. I don’t want to name people.”
Broadfoot spent three years with the Millers who face non-league Parkgate FC in their opening summer friendly at Roundwood tomorrow before heading off to Austria on Sunday for an eight-day stay.
The player’s family had already headed back north of the border and, after two back operations restricted him to four appearances in last term’s relegation from the second tier, he knew he wasn’t part of Warne’s thinking.
“He’s been brilliant for us,” Warne said. “He was a big part in us staying up twice. I always pull his leg about when he initially came and was played at right-back and was atrocious. At centre-half, it was a different story.”
Meanwhile, Warne is happy to have a player he describes as a model professional training with his squad in pre-season.
Former Rotherham right-back Frazer Richardson, now a 34-year-old free agent, is working out with the Millers and he and the manager are relaxed about the situation.
“He’s keeping fit with us,” Warne said. “He came to me in the summer and asked if I could do him a favour and could he come and train. Him and Greeny (Paul Green) are probably the two best pros I’ve worked with in recent years.
“It was a no-brainer for me to have him come in. He’s trained well. I won’t be taking him to Austria with us. I’ll be playing him in the game at Parkgate. There’s no pressure on either of us about the offer of a deal. We’ll just see how it goes.
“By the time I get back from Austria, he might have signed for Rochdale or something. In the meantime, it’s all pretty easy. We’ll just take it day by day and see where we go.”
The Millers’ group for the Checkatrade Trophy opening stages will include Bradford City, Chesterfield and an under-21 side from a Premier League or Championship club which will be confirmed next Wednesday.
The Parkgate match kicks off at 2pm, admission £6 (£4 concessions).