Gary Dicker helped Brighton & Hove Albion to the League One title in 2010/11 and it’s that type of valuable experience that urged John Gregory to bring him to Crawley.
The central midfielder signed until the end of the season on Thursday from Rochdale and is in contention for this Saturday’s trip to Rotherham.
The 27-year-old becomes Reds’ second January signing following the arrival of Matt Tubbs on loan, and with Dicker having played 129 games for the Seagulls over a four-year stay, Gregory believes he’s snapped up a real gem.
“He knows this division very well and has been successful, he knows what it takes to get us up to the Championship,” the Reds boss said.
Dicker was a mainstay of the Albion side that won promotion to the English second tier but has spent the first half of the current season on loan at League Two Rochdale, scoring once in ten appearances.
The Dubliner has remained based at his Brighton home and Gregory said he struggled with the travelling and being away from his wife and young daughter, so jumped at the chance of returning to Sussex with Reds.
“I think I’ve got myself a quality midfielder that is going to create healthy competition,” Gregory said. “I always said I won’t bring in people unless they’re better then the ones I’ve got and certainly with Gary he will improve the squad just with his presence.
“He is a solid, dependable, three-touch footballer. He gets up and down the pitch, puts his foot in, wants to fight, wants to argue, wants to win.
“That is the side of him I particularly like. And the fact he cost us nothing and lives down the road – he is coming home.
“He is absolutely delighted coming back to Sussex. He’s got a wife and 18-month-old baby girl and she has just got her daddy back.”