A 30-minute cameo in a losing cause was enough to convince Paul Warne to sign Michael Smith.
Smith, 26, arrived at Rotherham on Thursday on an 18-month deal, joining from League One strugglers Bury for an undisclosed fee.
He is challenged with filling the boots of Kieffer Moore, though Warne stresses he is not a like-for-like replacement, and caught his new boss’ eye when coming on as a second-half substitute in the Millers’ 3-2 September win over Bury.
Smith came on in the 60th minute and helped the Shakers equalise before Richie Towell’s 89th-minute winner for Warne’s men and his impact has stuck with the manager.
SIGNING | #rufc are delighted to confirm the signing of Michael Smith from Bury for an undisclosed fee, subject to EFL and FA ratification.
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) January 11, 2018
He said: “In the coaches’ room afterwards we were all talking about him because he made the game a lot more difficult for us.
“He pulled out centre-halves into positions they didn’t want to be in. He impressed me. He was always on my radar from that game on.
“He’s ideal for me and how I want to play.
“Luckily for us, Bury agreed the deal and the player wanted to come.
“He’s very athletic. He can play. The way we play, we can get him scoring goals. We get loads of crosses into the box.”
The Millers were forced into a quick resolution in the striking department after Moore’s decision to join Barnsley on a permanent deal.
Rotherham had an impressive bid in with Ipswich but the lure of Championship football was too much for the 25-year-old.
Still, he was thankful for his time 15 miles down the M1 from Oakwell.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Moore said. “They gave me that opportunity and were brilliant with me. The gaffer at Rotherham was brilliant.
“It was a very good spell. I had a great time at Rotherham. Everything, from every minute, was brilliant there.
— Bury Football Club (@buryfcofficial) January 11, 2018
“Of course, every footballer wants to play at the highest level that they possibly can. This is the perfect club for me to showcase my ability in the league above. Ultimately, that was my decision and something I wanted.
“It has been an eventful January so far. I had the call and as soon as Barnsley called, I instantly made my mind up and thankfully, we got the deal.
“It was just everything. I have seen them play this season and the way they go about it and the way the club is run. Just everything in general. It is a brilliant club to be at and I am just thankful to be here.”