Rotherham United new boy Anthony Forde has been tipped to make his mark in the Championship by the man who watched him light up League One last season.
The young winger was a major player for Walsall in the Saddlers’ march to the play-offs, performing better and better as the year went on.
“If he picks up where he left off, he will make a big impact at Rotherham,” said reporter Joseph Masi who covers Walsall for the Wolverhampton Express and Star.
“He enjoyed a really strong second half of the season last year and now looks to be fulfilling what is undoubted potential.”
Millers boss Alan Stubbs, who last Thursday made Forde the first of his summer signings, believes the 22-year-old is technically good and offers pace, a goal threat and a good work ethic.
That’s a view shared by Masi who added: “He’s got everything you want from a winger. He gets down the line well, has a good delivery on him and is a threat from distance.
“He can also drift inside to link up play and he works really hard.
“The only issue - as is often the case with wingers - is consistency. There have been times where he hasn’t influenced games enough, but that was more towards the start of last season. He was excellent in the second half of the season and, at 22, he is only going to get better.”
The Republic of Ireland under-21 international, who met his new teammates at the start of pre-season training on Thursday, fits the Stubbs template of a talented young player who can be further developed and turned into a major asset worth money to the Millers.
“I’m excited by the prospect of working with him,” said the manager who wants his side to be pushing for a place in the top 10 next season.
Meanwhile, out-of-contract defender Stephen Kelly has revealed he had no hesitation in signing a new one-year deal with Rotherham after talking to Stubbs, who took over the hot-seat a month ago.
“I had a couple of really good conversations with him. We spoke on the phone a lot. He just told me what his plans were for the club and what direction he wanted to go in. That spoke volumes to me.
“For me, it was a no-brainer to come in and sign for him, and hopefully we can achieve what he wants to achieve and what we all want to achieve.
“I can’t wait to get a good pre-season under my belt. I’m really looking forward to getting these five weeks done and dusted and being ready to start the season.
“I’m feeling good and healthy and I’m ready to start.”
Rotherham’s home match with Burton Albion, scheduled for New Year’s Eve, has been brought forward a day to Friday December 30 (7.45pm).