Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Steven Sidwell believes there are strong parallels with the current Seagulls side to the Reading team that won promotion to the Premier League in 2006.The 33-year-old is confident that Albion can emulate what his old club did and secure a place in the top flight next season.
He said, “At Reading we had a good team and we won the league with 106 points, which is a record in the Championship.
“We done that with ease and looking back on that now and talking to the players who were there, we all agreed that there were no egos or arrogance in the team.
“We had a great team spirit and when I arrived at this club, I saw all of those similarities and characteristics with this group of lads. To come back from their dip in form over Christmas and have back-to-back wins is remarkable.
“I 100% believe this club can gain promotion to the Premier League just by looking at the players. If you also look at the level of performance in training, then you can see there is enough quality in them”.
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With the competition in midfield already high, Sidwell is eager to make his mark on his new club and become a key figure in the dressing room.
“I wouldn’t have come to the club if I didn’t think I could get in the team, don’t get me wrong, they have done brilliantly. With me coming here, it can only increase the players’ levels, which will benefit the club massively.
“Once the games come thick and fast and I get more settled, I will start to voice my opinions more. I have gained promotion in this league and performed in the Premier League, so hopefully I can give some of that experience to the players here.
“I have been the captain at most sides I’ve played for on numerous occasions; if it’s going well I’m the first to pat your back and if it’s not, then I can encourage you to pick up your standards”.
After struggling to get regular game time with Stoke, Sidwell admitted manager Mark Hughes was reluctant to let him go, but the midfielder was delighted when the move was finalised.
“It got to the point where I just wanted to play football. I was training Monday to Friday and not playing on the weekend, and as a professional footballer, that’s not what you want.
“The manager did admit to me that he was being a little bit selfish by keeping me at the club but when I was given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance.
“I haven’t played for five months. Some people would see that as a negative, but I’m chomping at the bit to get playing again.
“You can see it in my eyes that I cannot wait to get out on the pitch at the Amex this Friday”.