New Brighton & Hove Albion signing Chris O’Grady believes his experience of the Championship will help him hit the ground running this coming season.
The former Barnsley striker has penned a three-year deal at the Amex Stadium, which comes on the back of a successful spell at Oakwell, where he netted 21 goals in just 18 months at the club.
Last season, in particular, saw an impressive return of 15 goals in a team that was relegated from the second tier and the 28-year-old is confident his form will continue in Albion colours.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “For the past two seasons I’ve hit double figures and that has been a reflection of the desire and hunger that I have to succeed at this level.
“I will always give everything, no matter who I’m playing for, but having played for Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday in the past, I know what it’s like to play for a big club – and Brighton certainly fall into that category.
“Earlier in my career playing for those clubs might have been a bit daunting for me, but at my age I know how to deal with the expectation and to win the fans over.
It’s fantastic to be joining a club with such big ambitions and to be joining in the peak years of my career.”
O’Grady admits that his signing came out of the blue – but he didn’t have to think twice when the call came to join the Seagulls.
“I was away on pre-season with Barnsley in Italy, and as soon as I found out Brighton wanted to sign me, I was on the first plane back to England.
“While I would have stayed with Barnsley, the Championship is where I feel I deserve to be playing and to have joined a club of Brighton’s stature is something I’m extremely proud of, as it shows I have been doing something right.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind 24 hours, but I’m delighted to have got everything sorted.”
O’Grady will also have a couple of familiar faces in the ranks when he joins up with the squad for the first time on Monday, namely Will Buckley and Dale Stephens.
“I played with Will in my first season at Rochdale. He was there for half a season before he got his move to Watford and you could see then that he had what it takes to play at a higher level.
When he went Dale came in on loan, so it will be good to have a couple of familiar faces about and it will be good to meet up with them again.
“I’m also looking forward to meeting Sami Hyypia as well, another major reason why I signed for the club.
“We’ve already spoken on the phone, as he’s been in Spain with the squad, but from what I heard it’s clear that he is a very hard-working and very organised manager.
“He’s also very experienced and well respected in the game, so I can only learn from someone like him.”