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KIERAN Sadlier was wearing a Rotherham United shirt when he realised that Bolton might a better fit.
Back in September, more than 20,000 fans took advantage of discounted tickets to watch a Wanderers – then third in the table – take on one of the hot favourites for promotion.
Paul Warne’s canny Millers deservedly won the game 2-0, with Sadlier making a late entrance as a replacement for Will Grigg.
But the former West Ham trainee had seen enough, both in the way Ian Evatt’s side played their football and in the atmosphere around him, to think that the next time Bolton came knocking, that is where he would sign.
Evatt had tried in the previous two transfer windows to bring him to the UniBol, thankfully third time was a charm.
“I came on at end of that game and it sounds a bit cliched now but I felt at home,” he said of the September meeting. “I’d known about the interest back then and I said afterwards that I wanted to play here.
“I loved what the gaffer was doing, the way they were playing suits me, and it is one of the main reasons I came here.
“It has been a long time coming but honestly I am so happy to be here. It’s a club I have played this season, I came here at the start I was thinking what a great stadium, fans, I liked the way they played. The way they wanted me, there is no other place I wanted to go, that’s the truth.”
Rotherham have developed an effective, physical, superbly organised side which has flitted between League One and the Championship over the past few seasons – but Sadlier admits the football played at Bolton is more akin to that played at Doncaster under Grant McCann, in what was the most successful spell of his career to date.
“I want to hit the ground running and show people what I can do at Bolton,” he said. “And playing in a team which is my style of football, I can’t wait.
“I had a good 18 months at Doncaster and really enjoyed it there, then a little taste of the Championship last season.
“The last year-and-a-half I got an injury but I didn’t play as much as I wanted (at Rotherham) and the way they played didn’t suit me, if I am honest.
“Coming here suits me and I can show like I did at Doncaster what I can do in this league.
“Everyone has a different path to get to where they want to get to and if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can do that.
“I am 27 and bit more experienced now, it is a good age to come into my peak in the next couple of years.”
Sadlier played alongside Wanderers skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos at Peterborough United and has ambitions to play Championship football again.
““The club is on the up, getting promotion last year,” he said. “You only have to look at the stadium and everything around it to know it has the potential to go up again. Hopefully we can do that.
“I have been watching from afar, I also came to a game. It has been the little things where I have felt really welcomed, it is quite important.”
Sadlier is still waiting for confirmation from the EFL that he will be registered to play against Sunderland on Saturday. But he is looking forward to another packed house – more than 19,000 tickets have now been shifted – and trying to impress his new fans.
“I can’t wait to see it,” he said. “I know there are a lot of tickets sold.
“We are on the up and Sunderland have been doing well too.
“I have finally come to a club, an extremely big club, and I can’t wait to be involved.”