‘Gladiator’ Georgie Kelly completes Rotherham move

‘Gladiator’ Georgie Kelly has refused to saddle himself with short-term goal-scoring targets as he beds into Rotherham for the long haul.

The ex-Bohemians striker last night completed his move to the League One promotion hopefuls on a free transfer.

Kelly was the Premier Division’s top scorer last season and smashed 26 goals in all competitions, including four in Europe.

The Donegal man, 25, has signed a three-and-a-half year deal and will count new Ireland star Chiedozie Ogbene among his team-mates.

And a date at Wembley is also on the cards as Rotherham are just one semi-final win away from a place in the EFL Trophy decider.

But Kelly warned that it will take time to get up to speed having had an extended break since the end of the Irish season.

“My last game was the FAI Cup final so that’s a two-month layoff, which is a lot,” he said. “It’ll take me a few weeks to get my bearings as it’s a tough and physical league.

“I’d never be setting goal targets as there are too many variables. I’ll just go with the flow and play it by ear.

“It’s a hard one to transition between the different standards, to know where exactly you’re at as it’s a big jump.

“It’s a competitive and physical league, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.”

Georgie Kelly celebrates scoring the first goal of the game.

Kelly was wanted by a host of clubs including Plymouth and Bradford City, while Danish, Dutch, Scottish and Irish sides were also interested.

Kelly continued: “It’s been a hectic few weeks of not knowing what I’d be doing or where I’d end up but I’m delighted to get it sorted and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I had a good season last year as I hadn’t played as much before that, being second string at a few places.

“But I had a right good go at it last year and scored a lot of goals and played a lot of games.

“I know there are a lot of talented players and strikers here at Rotherham, but I’m here to work and learn.

“I know it’ll be a challenge but I’ve a good bit to go yet in regards to where I can get to. I feel I can improve over the next few months.”

Rotherham are third in League One, just a point off joint leaders Wigan Athletic and Sunderland.

And boss Paul Warne feels Kelly can play a big part in their promotion push between now and the end of the season.

Warne said: “We think he could be one we have as a target-man going forward. He’s that type, who wants to get his head on crosses.

“He’s a willing worker and a bit of a gladiator. He’s a player we’ve watched since the summer, he had a good season in Ireland and he’s a bit of a warrior.

“I love a player with a backstory, whether that be someone from non-league or with a point to prove and for me he fits that bill.

“We could always do with more goals and I think that potentially, Georgie could do it. He’s scored goals at a level, but this is another step-up for him.”

Warne added: “He’s done really well in his fitness tests, but he’ll need a few weeks to get back up to speed in terms of match sharpness.

“I think we can improve him, there are still things we think he can do to get better as a player and hopefully he can be a big part of our team in the future.”

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