'I was as shocked as everyone else' - Richie Towell on new Brighton contract
Richie Towell surprised many, including himself, by signing a new contract with Premier League bound Brighton and Hove Albion at the end of the 2016-17 season.
Towell only made one appearance off the bench this season but the club have faith in the player and the new deal runs until 2019.
They announced their intention to let Towell out on loan to a Championship side this season.
Towell was a guest on this week's edition of LOI Weekly with Johnny Ward and Dan McDonnell.
"I was shocked as everyone else. The club kept telling me that they rate me. The manager kept telling me that he rates me. And I kept thinking, 'you don't like.' That's just being honest. I didn't think they did. But obviously they showed the faith in me and gave me a new deal. Because they're not going to hand them out."
Towell enjoyed one of the greatest seasons ever by a League of Ireland player in 2015 when his avalanche of goals from midfield helped Dundalk to the League and Cup double.
He was thus one of the most high profile LOI players to head for the grimly competitive jungle that is English football's second tier.
Towell admitted that there was a resulting added pressure when he struggled to break into Brighton's first team.
"Obviously everyone is ringing asking 'why are you not playing, why are not playing!?' Which is a bit frustrating because you never have the right answers for them. I just wanted to play when I went over. So when I wasn't playing it was frustrating. But the overall experience of being there was something I'll never forget.
"People don't realise the players we have in our team. They'll play in the Premier League next year and then people will probably realise, 'they're a really good side'.
Likely to be sent out on loan, Towell is certain he can compete well at Championship level.
"I think I can play Championship. I was a bit unfortunate I was at the best team in the Championship and I found it hard to get in. But obviously seeing as I had a bit of time, I was watching every single game. And I have no doubt I can compete at that level. So, it's just about getting the chance.