THE last time Nicky Adams donned his boots in a competitive fixture, he headed into the opposite dressing room to the one he will find himself in today.
The venue is Rotherham United’s New York Stadium, where he was on league business with former club Crawley Town exactly three weeks ago.
Adams admits the Millers’ splendid home left an impression on him that day – and he is eager to sample more, starting in a winning cause in what he hopes will be a debut for his new employers against Stevenage.
After marking Millers’ fans card with a vibrant performance for the visitors in a 2-2 draw on January 25, the Lancastrian has got his wish and is eyeing a few re-runs of his display 21 days ago.
This time, though, in the red of Rotherham and not Crawley, with persistence having paid off for Millers manager Steve Evans, who saw his initial move to bring in Adams fall through in November.
It has also been a game of patience for Adams since joining a fortnight ago with his debut having been put on temporary hold.
Adams, who joined United on transfer deadline day, five days after his NYS appointment with Crawley, said: “As soon as I got to the stadium and went on the pitch, I just thought: ‘Wow, I wouldn’t mind playing here every week.’
“I just can’t wait to get started now. It’s been a little bit frustrating as I didn’t sign in time for the Leyton Orient game and then the Colchester game got cancelled so, hopefully, the game will go ahead on Saturday and I will be involved.
“I have been here two weeks now and the lads and training has been great and I couldn’t have asked for much more.”
On his path eventually clearing for a route back north, the winger, who has signed a two-and-a-half year deal after joining for an undisclosed fee, added: “It didn’t happen before Christmas and I just carried on with Crawley and my performances got better, although I hadn’t really heard anything from Rotherham.
“I just thought if I kept playing well, the gaffer might try and sign me in the summer.
“Crawley knew I was out of contract and, if there was interest, they had to make a decision.
“I was basically sat at home and I got a call from my agent and he said a bid had been accepted and would I speak to them and I was delighted and absolutely over the moon.
“It was a strange one really as I thought I was going (in November) but then it didn’t happen. Sometimes that is what happens in football.
“It was nothing down to myself or the gaffer, but just the powers that be at Crawley.
“I obviously knew about the previous interest, but Crawley turned it down. But when it came around again this time, it was a no-brainer really.
“I had another couple of bits of interest. But I just thought the gaffer here had been chasing me for so long and, as a player, when you have someone who really wants you and especially with the size of the club, fans and the stadium and the players here, I couldn’t wait to join.
“You look at what he has done for this club and while I didn’t work with him at Crawley, he worked wonders there – and now he’s done it at Rotherham.
“I wanted to be part of it and he didn’t have to sell it too much to me.
“Speaking to the gaffer and how far the club have come in the last two seasons, it was an easy decision what with the facilities and everything about the club.”
Now comes the hard part for the 27-year-old. That is finding his way into the starting line-up of a side who have a genuine chance of emulating the achievements of Ronnie Moore’s class of 1999-2001 – back-to-back promotions to the Championship – and providing a medley of joyous memories for the Tivoli faithful along the way.
Speaking of the second tier, that is where Adams believes the Millers are destined to grace again before too long.
Adams, who has spent the majority of his career in the lower leagues with the likes of Bury, Rochdale and Crawley, is keen to reacquaint himself with the Championship having previously played there with Leicester City earlier in his career.
He is also keen also to get another promotion from League One on his CV, having been part of the Foxes side who lifted the title under Nigel Pearson during his first spell at the helm at the East Midlands club in 2008-09.
Adams said: “Obviously, I’ve got to work hard to get into the team, because the lads have been brilliant.
“But it’s a challenge I will relish because that’s the type of lad that I am.
“There are some great players here and for a team to go up, you need a good squad and more than just 11 good players and we have that. If we keep the run of games going, I don’t see why we cannot get promoted. It’s a Championship club in the making.
“I had a little bit of that for a couple of years and it stood me in good stead.
“I’ve gone back down the leagues and learned my trade and been away from the north for a while, but I wouldn’t change anything and it has worked out perfectly for me.
“I did well down south, but I’m a northern boy at heart and it’s nice to be back up here.
“Now I’ve arrived at a big club and I am sure things can happen here.
“I was at Leicester when we won League One and that was a great experience and then we got in the play-offs in the Championship and lost on penalties.
“Football can be all about fine margins and, hopefully, I can taste success with Rotherham.”