Gary Rowett admitted he had major doubts that Millwall would be able to secure a loan deal for Ryan Woods.
The Lions snapped up the 26-year-old for the remainder of the season from Stoke City.
And it was Rowett who was responsible for Woods heading to the Britannia Stadium – signing him during his relatively short spell in charge there.
The former Brentford midfielder came straight into Millwall’s side at the weekend with Ryan Leonard and Ben Thompson still unavailable as they recover from knee and ankle injuries respectively.
Shaun Williams served the first of a three-match ban for his red card at Stoke City.
Rowett said: “I didn’t think we’d be able to get him, in all honesty, but the chairman, Steve [Kavangh, chief executive], Alex [Aldridge head of recruitment] and all the guys have been brilliant in trying to make it happen.
“It’s a brilliant deal for us.
“He’s a player who Stoke signed for around £6million. We know at Brentford he was probably one of the best holding midfielders in the division consistently.
“He was our number one target. I’ve spoken before about the fact about players who fit the DNA of what we’re after.
“You want someone who is going to be tenacious, hungry – who has that desire and will to never be beaten. But also we want to try and improve some quality aspects and the way we’re playing. In some games where we haven’t played so well we’ve been a little wasteful on the ball.
“He is a player I’ve worked with and I know his character. He has shown a real intent to come and play games for Millwall and be part of what we’re doing.
“He is a player who complements the other midfielders we’ve got. He’s a little bit of everything, Woodsy. He can build possession really, really well and probably his main strength is he’ll take the ball in any situation off defenders and get our forward players into good positions with a range of passing.
“But the bit I like about him as much as anything and why he is such a good fit is that he’s a feisty little player. He’s really aggressive and has got a real will to win and scrap for any sort of ball in there.
“I’m really excited to work with him again. He’s a good age – 26. He’s coming into his prime and we’ve got a really strong midfield unit.
“Woodsy can sit, hold, dictate and step in and break things up. He’s quite flexible.”
PICTURE BY BRIAN TONKS
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