Richie Smallwood looks set to be offered a new contract at the Millers.
Smallwood’s current deal expires at the end of the season but his tenacity and hard-working approach in the middle of midfield has impressed boss Paul Warne since his return from his loan spell at Scunthorpe in January.
Warne will not make his mind up for definite until the campaign concludes in a fortnight, but the signs appear positive for the former Middlesbrough man.
“He has done well. He’s had a good season,” boss Warne said. “He’s a typical Rotherham United player. He gives his job-lot.
“He’s got another three games – and they all have – to cement his career with us next season.
“To get a new deal, you have to be consistent. Rich has been consistent in training. He prepares well. He’s been performing well and I’m pleased with how he’s been playing. He’s a good professional.”
If he does get a new deal, which the 26-year-old would be keen to sign, it would mark the continuation of a Millers career that looked to be over in August, when then-boss Alan Stubbs sent him out on a season-long loan to Scunthorpe in a real head-scratcher of a decision.
While the Millers were floundering with the likes of Jake Forster-Caskey and Scott Allan in their midfield, Smallwood was part of an Iron squad who set off the League One campaign like a house on fire.
It gave him further experience of a division that he has only ever competed in at the top end, with his mid-season arrival at New York Stadium in 2013-14 the catalyst for a scintillating run of form that ended in Wembley glory, a factor which is surely influencing Warne’s decision.
Smallwood has not looked out of place in the Championship either for that matter. He was the player of the season in 2014-15 before playing an integral part in the charge to safety last season, capping it off with the picture book fourth goal in the rout at MK Dons.
Stubbs’ dislike of Smallwood, who possesses all the attributes expected of a Millers player, highlighted the Liverpudlian’s disconnection with the club.
That is not a problem with the current incumbent, who understands it more than most. As a result, Smallwood’s Millers story looks set to get a new chapter.