KIERAN Sadlier is delighted to have finally taken the direct route out of Rotherham.

The 27-year-old playmaker has first planned his exit to Wanderers in the summer, only for the Millers to change their mind on releasing him at the last moment.

Now, having signed a two-and-a-half year deal at the UniBol, the former West Ham trainee is determined to move on from an difficult spell in South Yorkshire, and show Wanderers what he has got.

Sadlier signed for Rotherham from Doncaster in the summer of 2020 but featured just 16 times in the Championship because of an ankle ligament injury which kept him out for fourth months.

After relegation he had hoped to link-up with Bolton the following summer but despite feeling at odds with the football played under Paul Warne, he was kept on until the January window, making only five more league starts.

“It’s a mystery what really happened over the last six months,” said a perplexed Sadlier, preparing for this weekend’s game at Morecambe. “You get told one thing but they don’t stick to them.

“I want to play. I made it clear at the start of the season that I don’t care about anything else – I just want to play football.

“They didn’t let me come here and then I didn’t play as much as I wanted do. ‘You can go. Now you can’t go. Now you can go again’. It was a very frustrating time for me, mentally.

“I just wanted to play football – that’s all I wanted to do – and there was a club (Bolton) that really wanted me. But I am here now and that’s football I guess - they don’t let you go until the right at the end of the window when they’ve got their things sorted.

“I’m here now and I’m happy about that. I am not bitter or anything – I wish them all the best – but I am very happy now.”

Sadlier featured as a substitute in both of Rotherham’s wins against Bolton this season, with the Millers continuing to look good for a return to the second tier.

But the midfielder insists he is happier playing at Wanderers, who could return to the top 10 in League One if they register a fifth successive victory this weekend.

“It was just a completely different style of play (at Rotherham) and they expect different things to what is expected at other places,” he said.

“They are a hard-working club and team but they do it in different ways. They have attacking players but they don’t really play with technical attacking players who get into pockets and do things on the ball.

“I know they are top of the league but, personally, I would always choose to come to a place like this over being there and top of the league. This club has the potential to go up, then look around at the stadium and the facilities, it has the potential to go and do very big things again, as it has before.

“Since I came in on day one I have been really well looked after and sometimes it is the little things that give you that confidence, let you know why they put faith in you.”

The Bolton News:

Despite his frustration, Sadlier maintains that he never let his standards slip at the New York Stadium.

“There isn’t really much I could do, to be honest,” he said. “I stayed professional to the very end and I am not the kind of person to be bad in a dressing room.

“I always gave my all when I played and I always will. It was frustrating but it is what it is.

“This is a fresh start. I am 27 and coming into my peak in the next year or two, so hopefully this club can see the best of me.”

Sadlier started at West Ham, staying in the youth system between the ages of 11 to 21 before playing his first professional football at St Mirren in Scotland.

He said his grounding with the Hammers have shaped his view on football, which eventually drew him towards Wanderers.

“We had some good players at my age and a couple in the year below,” he recalled. “I think Josh Cullen and Reece Burke were both here on loan. They’re good friends and I still speak to them now. I think Josh is over at Anderlecht and Reece is in Luton.

“I think in an academy at a club like that back then, everybody played football and a good way of playing.

“It might have developed a bit more now but to be fair it was a long time ago. It has been seven years since I left, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable 10 years and traits I picked up were there and then I’ve gone on to play for different clubs where it’s been different styles of football in every single club, but I’d always go back to my main style that suits me, which is playing football and playing on the floor and I haven’t done that for the last year and a half.

“Before that I did, and now I’m doing it again, and it’s enjoyable to do that because I’m someone who likes to enjoy my football and express myself and play with confidence and I can definitely do that I feel here from what I’ve seen in the last week or so.”

Sadlier’s most successful time in English football so far came at Doncaster Rovers, where his goals made him one of League One’s most sought-after players.

“I came over from Ireland halfway through the season and played under Grant McCann, who I knew from when I was at Peterborough – he was assistant there,” Sadlier told us.

“We played good football there and got to the play-off semi-finals (against Charlton) and lost on penalties so it was a successful season.

“Then Darren Moore came in and we played some very good football under him as well. Obviously, that season was cut short due to Covid and we were in form then. I think we were going for a play-off spot.

“Then I made the decision to go to Rotherham which I think everybody knows was the wrong one.

“I’ll be very open and say it was the completely wrong decision to go there, but people make mistakes in their careers and I’ll learn from that.”

Sadlier was out of contract at the Keepmoat Stadium but says he felt pressure to make a decision having spent time in lockdown.

“We had quite a few months off football and the season started later,” he said. “It wasn’t panic, but there were a few clubs interested and it wasn’t really the clubs I wanted to go to or that suited me.

“I had to make a decision and I ended up going there. But now I’ve ended up here so I’m happy about that. Whatever happens, happens for a reason I feel and I think I can really enjoy myself here.

Sadlier arrives with a point to prove to his former employers, who used him primarily as an impact substitute, with most of his starts coming in the cup competitions.

But he also enters into a much more competitive attacking roster at Bolton, who also have Lloyd Isgrove, Elias Kachunga and Xav Amaechi to come back into the squad bound for Morecambe.

“When I’ve got the chance I think this season and I’ve actually started, whether that be in the league or different cups, I’ve always done well,” he said. “I think my stats are really good in goals and assists and in set pieces. I’ve always when I’ve been given the chance taken it this season, but for whatever reason I didn’t play as much as I wanted to.

“Since I came in to Bolton we have won 6-0 and 2-0 and the boys have won four in a row. It is a good time to come in because everyone is upbeat and they are playing well.

“I will work my hardest to get into the team and if I come in off the bench I will work my hardest to help a squad I think will be successful in the end.”

The Bolton News:

Success at the UniBol has been on a sliding scale in recent months but hopes are now picking up that a top 10 finish – or perhaps higher – could be achievable after the club strengthened its squad last month.

“Right now you take it one game at a time,” Sadlier said. “Four games in a row is great, we have done really well and the club has got the potential to do anything, I mean, it’s Bolton.

“When I was growing up this club was in the Premier League and everyone knows how big a club this is. “League One is strong and there are some big clubs up there. Others who were expected to do well maybe are not. But I think right now we just need to keep winning games and see where it takes us. If we can get into the play-offs, then great, I don’t think anyone would want to play against us if we did.”