A cup of coffee and a chat convinced Paul Warne it was time to end Richie Smallwood’s Rotherham United exile.
The midfielder was allowed to leave for League One The Iron by former manager Alan Stubbs in August and was due to remain at Glanford Park until the end of the season.
But caretaker boss Warne caught up with Smallwood and decided to bring back the 26-year-old to help the Championship’s bottom club in their fight against relegation.
“I met up with him for a coffee and I needed to ensure that he wanted to come back and fight for his place,” Warne said.
“As I knew he would, he’s looked after himself. We’re down on numbers at the moment so he’ll come back in and provide good competition.”
Parent clubs have a week-long opportunity in the January transfer window to recall loan players.
Warne added: “I wanted him back and all the members of staff wanted him back. It was our call.
“He’s the type of midfielder that we need. He’s hard-working, he’s dogged and he’s got a great attitude. He will be crucial as we continue our battle for survival.
“Richie epitomises everything that I want at this club and he has always worked really hard. He understands what I want as a manager and the standards I expect.”
Smallwood was a hero of a League One promotion and two second-tier survival missions at New York Stadium, but fell out of favour after Stubbs, who went on to be sacked in October, replaced Neil Warnock in the summer.
He made eight starts and 11 substitute appearances for Scunthorpe and will come straight into contention for Rotherham’s home clash with Norwich City on Saturday
Five players left the club last week while goalkeeper Lee Camp has been ruled out for the season with a knee complaint, and Warne wants to bring in new blood as soon as possible.