Rotherham United new boy Stephen Kelly rejected the the chance to stay with Championship big guns Reading because he was itching to play more football.
The Republic of Ireland international, who has signed a deal with the Millers until the end of the season, was offered new terms by the play-off-chasing Royals in the summer but wasn’t prepared to settle for a place on the bench.
“I turned down a contract and people were saying ‘you’re a mad boy’!” he revealed. “But I was in a position where I wanted to play football, and last year I didn’t play as much as I’d have liked. That was my mindset.”
The 32-year-old defender is so determined to make his Millers move a success that he is planning to move his family north and live in rented accommodation.
He is in line for his debut this afternoon at Leeds United, after impressing during a trial with Rotherham and ending a tough spell without a club.
“It’s been very frustrating. I didn’t expect it to go on this long,” he admitted. “I really expected to get something sorted sooner.
“There were teams that were interested, but one thing led to another and things fell through and just didn’t go the way I wanted them to. But now I have an opportunity to play and I’m going to grab it with both hands. I’m desperate to get on the pitch and perform well and show what I can do.”
The right-back can’t wait to step out on to the AESSEAL New York Stadium turf in his new red and white colours, having appeared their for Reading when the Millers sealed there Championship survival last April with a 2-1 win.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” he recalled. “Rotherham were a strong team and caused us a lot of problems that night, and the majority of that squad is still here.
“I’m looking forward to playing there as a home player. It’s a beautiful stadium. I was surprised by how nice it was.
“Obviously, I knew it had been developed but I didn’t know what it was like. When we came up here last year, it was an eye-opener.”
Skipper Lee Frecklington has been back in full training for three weeks after a calf problem and is set to play for new boss Neil Redfearn for the first time against the club he supported as a boy.
“I was a Leeds fan. I’ve never hidden that,” the midfielder said. “Obviously, it has no affect on this game. As a professional footballer, you don’t really support another team. You just focus on doing the very best you can for the club you are with.
“Elland Road is a great place to play at. I’ve managed it only twice in my career, so I’d love to be involved this time.”
Striker Jordan Bowery has joined League One Bradford City on loan until January 3.