Stephen Kelly talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Stephen Kelly is aiming to grasp his opportunity with both hands after a successful return to the Millers starting line-up.
The Republic of Ireland international has had his time at AESSEAL New York Stadium disrupted by injury, but he made a successful return to first-team action as a substitute in the recent victory over Middlesbrough.
Signed alongside international team mate Leon Best back in November, Kelly made an instant impression with an assured display in the league victory over Leeds United at Elland Road.
After making his home debut against Bristol City the former Spurs and Birmingham defender endured a frustrating spell on the sidelines, before a triumphant return to the side just in time for the crucial Championship run-in.
“I started off really well and then I picked up a couple of injuries back-to-back which were quite freaky,” Kelly told www.themillers.co.uk
“I broke my hand and then picked up an injury in a challenge on the training ground, so it was really frustrating but it is just nice now to be back on the pitch again.”
Kelly is now determined to make the most of his opportunity after an untimely injury to team mate Frazer Richardson, who had been occupying the right-back berth to great effect.
“I came on against Middlesbrough because of Frazer’s injury. It isn’t nice to see one of your team mates come off injured, but it has given me an opportunity and after snatching the victory the team was on a real high. To start the next game was really pleasing, that’s two games in a week for me and I feel strong, so I just need to keep it going now.”
The experienced operator has played the majority of his career at Premier League level, whilst he has 38 international caps to his name after making his debut in 2006.
Despite having 15 years in the professional ranks behind him, Kelly admits Saturday’s extraordinary comeback against Derby County was something that he had yet to experience in his many years in the game.
“It was good to come through the 90 minutes and what a game it was too,” added the 32-year-old.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game like that before but it was a great comeback and a fantastic result for us.
“If you were a fan watching that last seven minutes it must have been unbelievable. It was credit to our character as a team, and our never say die attitude and it showed that everyone is fighting to keep the club in this division.”