CURTIS Tilt today left Rotherham United on loan as he looks to rebuild his Millers career after a nightmare start to life in South Yorkshire.
The centre-half, who has played only an hour of football since his £100,000 switch from Blackpool eight months ago, headed out to League One Wigan Athletic until January in search of the game-time he can't find at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Rotherham manager Paul Warne has told the 29-year-old, back in action after surgery, that there is every chance he could figure in the Millers' first team l if he proves his fitness with the Latics.
"I just needed him to play games," the boss said. "He has had a big operation on his hip. He didn't have the pre-season everyone else did and everyone knows how obsessed I am with pre-season.
"He found himself, through no fault of his own, fifth choice, so he just needs to play football. We have two games a week now for the next month and then an international break. There wasn't going to be the opportunity to get him games behind closed doors so I didn’t think he was in a state to play first-team football. That is what going on loan enables him to do, which is great."
Tilt started Rotherham's final League One match before lockdown, at Rochdale in March, but hasn't featured since their promotion to the Championship.
"Wigan get a very good League One defender who can play in the Championship when he comes back," Warne said. "It is a win-win for us. Curtis wants to play football as well so it's good for him.
"People think that when you loan someone out that that is the end of them but that isn't always the case. I want him to go and play well and get back in my team here.
"It's no different to when Icky (Michael Ihiekwe) went to Accrington Stanley and then came back and played the rest of the season for us. It will do Curtis good, it will give him confidence, match-fitness and sharpness."
Warne's expects a couple more loan departures on tomorrow's transfer-window deadline day but says his own recruitment, after nine signings, is over.
"If the loans don't happen, then no drama," he said. "None of my big hitters are going. I haven't had any bids or heard any rumours of bids.
"Realistically, if anyone is going to come in for my best players, I would be amazed if the agent hadn't tapped me up by now.
"They would do well to get an offer through now. It might happen, but I don't see any of my starting 11 being sold."