Rotherham United win three-way fight to land Liam Kelly from Coventry City

New Rotherham United man Liam Kelly. Pic: Coventry City FC.New Rotherham United man Liam Kelly. Pic: Coventry City FC.
New Rotherham United man Liam Kelly. Pic: Coventry City FC.
ROTHERHAM United have beaten off competition from two other League One clubs to recruit midfield anchorman man Liam Kelly.

The 34-year-old arrives in South Yorkshire on a two-year contract from Coventry City, where he has spent the last seven years.

Kelly has made approaching 200 appearances for the Sky Blues since joining them seven years ago, including 19 last season as they finished in the top half of the Championship and went all the way to the FA Cup semi-finals.

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Millers boss Steve Evans said: “He is 34, which is at the top end of our scale in terms of age profile, but he plays like a 24-year-old.

Happy man. Steve Evans. Picture by Jim BrailsfordHappy man. Steve Evans. Picture by Jim Brailsford
Happy man. Steve Evans. Picture by Jim Brailsford

"He gets around the pitch and he’s has been captain at Coventry, who have had the most wonderful five or six seasons under Mark Robins.

"Mark would have kept him but it was Liam that chose to break off and have a couple more years somewhere else.”

Kelly started out in his native Scotland with Kilmarnock before moving south of the border.

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He played for Bristol City, Oldham and Leyton Orient before ex-Rotherham manager Robins took him to Coventry, where the player really settled down.

Handed the captain’s armband, he skippered the Sky Blues to promotion from League Two in 2018 and from League One two years later.

Rotherham have had to wait to get their man, with Kelly mulling over his options before opting to come to AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“Liam met every club interested in him twice,” added Evans. “He was very professional, very thorough.

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"We’ve had long two long chats and we were in the mix with two top end League One clubs.

"We’re delighted to have him on board.”

Kelly becomes Rotherham’s seventh signing of the close season.

The return of striker Jonson Clarke-Harris set the ball rolling, since when midfielder Sean McWilliams, left-back Reece James, Portsmouth promotion winners Joe Rafferty and Sean Raggett and Burton Albion’s Joe Powell have all followed, each on two-year deals.

Evans has promised to start “fine tuning” the squad from next week and with 17 departures from last season’s Championship relegation squad, the recruitment drive is far from over.

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