Wednesday 22 November 2017

Richie Towell: Dundalk could compete in the Championship - and I can too

EXCLUSIVE

Richie Towell
Richie Towell
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Richie Towell admits he has struggled to breach a ‘huge step up in class’ after making a move from Dundalk to Brighton earlier this year, but the Dubliner is determined to prove his worth in English football.

Towell was a shining light in Dundalk’s sparkling season of success in 2015, as he bagged 25 goals in the Airtricity League to cement his status as the shining star of Stephen Kenny’s side.

Former Republic of Ireland defender Chris Hughton subsequently won the race to secure Towell’s signature, yet the playmaker has failed to make his mark in English football so far and accepts he now has to prove his worth after recovering from a knee injury.

“Everyone was looking how I would get on when I came over and it hasn’t gone the way I wanted, but I’m determined to keep my self grounded and prove that I’m good enough to play in the Championship,” Towell told Independent.ie

“This has been a big step up in class. There is no need to beat around the bush, this is a different level to what we see in the League of Ireland.

“It’s hard to say what level the League of Ireland can be compared to because Dundalk are on a different level to the rest at this moment. I think they could hold their own in the Championship.

“If they are doing well against Zenit St Petersburg, who are one of the favourites for the Europa League, there is no reason why they couldn’t do well at this level.

“The bottom half of League of Ireland are part time and some of them only train twice a week, so you cannot compare them to the set-up at Dundalk, which is so professional under Stephen Kenny.”

Towell insists he has no regrets over leaving Dundalk and making the move to Brighton, even though he has only made two first team appearances for the Championship side so far.

“It was a no brainer for me to come here and I’m still very happy that I made the move and it is just about getting fit now and kicking on,” he states.

“This is a Premier League club waiting to happen and hopefully we can get promotion this season.

“Every team in this league so strong and the games come every few days, but I have no regrets about moving to Brighton.

“I miss Ireland, of course I do. Dublin is my home and you ask any lad that plays away and they miss their family. I don’t get to see me Mam and Dad, me partner has gone over for a visit and she misses her family as well.

“What I don’t necessarily miss is the football back home. When you see the facilities we have a Brighton they are top class.

“I’d like to think I am a better player than I was a year ago and working with Chris and the coaching staff at Brighton has helped to give me a great knowledge of the game in England. Even being around lads that have played in the Premier League is a great experience.”

Towell has just returned from a knee injury that has halted his hopes of making a break into the Brighton first team this season, but he concedes he faces a tough challenge to force his way into Hughton’s line-up as they are riding high at the top of the Championship.

“I knew it was going to be tough breaking into the Brighton team after coming to the club mid-way through last season. We have some really, really good players here,” he added.

“A lot of them could go and play in the Premier League tomorrow morning, no problem. To come in and disrupt that was going to be hard so I targeted pre-season and to get the injury I did was frustrating.

“Football is like this sometimes. It doesn’t always go in straight lines and there are times when you have to go up and around to get to where you want to be.

“I am very strong mentally and I know I can get over this. It is only onwards and upwards from here.

“I have to be confident I will get into this team. I can’t be around here moping and moaning about how unlucky I have been there this and anyway, that is not my style. I feel fit and strong now, but it will not be easy to get in to this Brighton team. The lads are playing really well and especially the midfielders, so it won’t be easy.”

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