Gary Dicker believes his experience of winning the League One title with Brighton can help Crawley Town in their ultimate goal of reaching the Championship.
The Irish midfielder played in every one of Albion’s 46 league games when they were crowned 2010/11 League One champions.
And having been signed on a short-term deal from Rochdale until the end of the season, the 27-year-old hopes he can add valuable experience to John Gregory’s side.
“I played in every league game when we won the title, started 40 games and came on in the other six and in the four years I had at Brighton my game developed massively,” said Dicker, who made 129 appearances in total for the Seagulls.
“I have won this league before, I know what it takes. It’s far from easy, there’s no easy game and on their day any team can beat anyone. It’s about getting on a run of games, getting some momentum going.
“We’ve got a fair few games in hand over other sides so it’s up to us to win as many of those as we can and hopefully my experience can help us do that.”
Reds go into this Saturday’s home game with bottom side Stevenage some 15 points off sixth-placed Walsall, but with up to four games in hand on some sides after recent postponements because of the weather.
With the side currently only five points off the relegation places Dicker said no-one in the squad was looking further than winning the next match, but admitted the club, and Gregory’s long-term ambition to reach the Championship was a big factor in joining.
“My contract was up at Rochdale after we played Chesterfield on the Tuesday so I was free to speak to other people. The gaffer came up to watch the game and it moved pretty quickly from there, the offer came in on Wednesday and it was all done and dusted by the Thursday,” Dicker said, outlining the speed of the deal.
“Coming to play for a manager with his kind of experience and the big clubs he has managed was a massive part of it. He’s been in charge of massive clubs like Aston Villa and Derby and there’s good players here as well, there’s a lot of talent in the dressing room.”
Dicker remained based in Sussex during his time at Rochdale, living with his young daughter and partner in Steyning and commuting up to North Manchester. But while he said it was a relief to be back in his “second home,” he insisted he had come to the Broadfield first and foremost for footballing reasons.
Dicker said: “My daughter will be two in June and my partner is from this area so it’s a second home for me. I’m very much settled down here and I feel like I’ve played the best football of my career down here so hopefully that’ll continue. When you’re happy off the pitch you’re normally happy off it and it was tough being away from my family.
“But it’s mostly about playing football and I’ve joined a club on the up. The manager has ambitions to get out of this league and that sold it to me really. Hopefully now we can pick up some wins from our games in hand and start to look up the table.”
Dicker was a late substitute in the 2-2 draw at Rotherham at the weekend and could be in line for his full debut against Graham Westley’s side this Saturday.
A ball-playing central midfielder who likes to dictate play and link defence with attack, Dicker knows his position is one area Reds have plenty of competition with Josh Simpson, Andy Drury, Mike Jones, Sergio Torres and injured Dannie Bulman all vying for a central role.
“At Brighton there were about 12 midfielders in my position at one stage so I’m used to being at a club where you have at least two people fighting for every position, and that normally means everyone raises their game by ten per cent which only benefits the team,” he said.
“I’m not expecting to come straight in the side, I know I’ll have to fight for a place and hopefully if I get the chance it’s up to me to do well and make sure I stay there.”