Rotherham United: Promotion hero Kelly still feels he has long way to go to make it with Millers

Georgie Kelly admits he still does not know if he is good enough to be a Rotherham United striker despite having written his name into club folklore.

The 25-year-old’s goal on Saturday booked the Millers’ place in next season’s Championship.

The Millers were leading Gillingham 1-0 and good value for it but with promotion rivals Wigan Athletic and Milton Keynes Dons cruising to victory and the Gills needing a draw to avoid relegation, it was not until Kelly’s 89th-minute strike they could bank on victory.

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The January signing had only been a Football League player for nine minutes and admitted his aim when the day broke was just getting on the field after an injury-disrupted three months following his transfer from Bohemians. “This season could have passed me by,” he admitted. “I was mentally prepared to not make my debut, have a good off-season and start again next season.

Rotherham United's Daniel Barlaser (right) celebrates with his team-mates in the dressing room. Picture: PA.

“I had a calf injury that recurred, which was really frustrating for me. I’d been through the last three or four years without any injuries. I don’t know if it was the adjustment in intensity coming up to a higher standard.

“I’m looking forward to the off-season and a really good pre-season because I know I’m still not at this level, not at Smudge (top-scorer Michael Smith)’s Freddie (Ladapo)’s or JJ (Kayode)’s level. I’ve got a lot of work to do in regards to strength, pace and power, even technically.

“I’ll work in the off-season and come into pre-season and see if I can get to this level. I don’t know whether I can yet.

“(The difficulties) make it sweeter. I woke up and didn’t even know if I was going to be on the bench. I was just hoping to make my debut.”

Dan Barlaser celebrates with Michael Ihiekwe as Rotherham United celebrate promotion. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Kelly was keen to stress the support he has had from the coaching staff and fans.

“When I went to warm up (on Saturday) I could hear the roars,” he said. “What they saw when I signed was a 26-goal striker’s coming and he’s going to score goals. I’m thinking: ‘Listen, this is a big step up for me. I don’t know if I’m going to be fit to play at this level.’

“Fans were saying: ‘We can’t wait to see you play.’ I was saying: ‘I’m not a Smudge. I’m not at that level yet.’ I connected a little bit with (manager Paul Warne). He was honest, open and a realist. He doesn’t know if I can make it at this level. Nobody does.”