Date: 11th August 2016 at 1:00pm
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Could this season be Steve Sidwell’s final as a player for Brighton? After returning to Albion, where he had a loan spell from Arsenal early in his career, last season he’s got a deal for this season.

A playing role is what he wants, and is enjoying, but future plans are being looked at as he draws towards the end of playing career.

Signing a deal last season, and a new on in the summer, was an ‘easy decision’ as he’s told Sky Sports with him more than happy to be at the Amex Stadium.

‘I’m enjoying it. I’m in Epsom at the top of the A23 so it’s an easy route to get down and I car share with David Stockdale who lives around the corner from me. It’s back home for me as I spent a lot of summers down there. It was an easy decision. Just missing out last year gave me that bit more of an incentive to sign again and go one more. The lads are really good and the dressing room is probably one of the best that I’ve been in for feeling at ease. There are no egos.’

A lot has changed at Brighton since that loan spell from Arsenal some 13-years ago, with him recalling the running track and temporary stands at the Withdean with the club all geared up for Premier League football.

Sidwell added that it doesn’t get any easier this season though with those who dropped out of the topflight.

‘The infrastructure is there to see. The stadium is fantastic and the stadium is on a par with most Premier League teams if not better than some. It’s just doing the hard bit which is on the pitch. It’s all geared up for the Premier League, it’s just getting there.

‘Every year is tough. But you only have to look at this year with the teams coming down like Aston Villa, Norwich and Newcastle. Then you have got teams like Derby and Sheffield Wednesday that are still there and spending. It’s going to be a tough year to do it but I’ve got belief in the manager and the squad that it can be done.’

Chris Hughton is a ‘humble’ man who Sidwell has a lot of time and respect for so playing for him is something he’s enjoying and learning plenty from.

A UEFA B Licence has been obtained with the 33-year-old now working towards his A Licence with coaching something he’s looking to, with him coaching the youngsters at Brighton at the moment.

‘You’re thinking about things and what you would do. It’s been a big change in mind-set. I find myself watching games now and it feels completely different. I’m not watching the ball but I’m watching the winger to see why he hasn’t tucked in or why someone else hasn’t made that run. It’s annoying in a way because I can’t just enjoy the game like I used to.’

His career stands him in good stead to do this with media work, which he added is ‘part of it for managers and coaches now too’ something he works on to so that could be another road to go down.

For the time being though his main focus is on playing.

Sidwell was only given a one-year deal at the Amex this season, a decision he fully understands and accepts, he’s not ruling out an extended stay with Brighton but will have to see ‘what the future brings,’ concluding.

‘I’m 33 now and you have to respect that you don’t get too many two-year contracts at that stage. That’s just the way football is and I understand that. It’s one-year deals now, but we’ll see what the future holds.’

A current teammate is Dale Stephens.

Rumours of a deal being agreed with Burnley maybe aren’t as accurate as they seemed so a £7m move to the Clarets isn’t ‘done and dusted’ as had been suggested so the 27-year-old could yet remain with Brighton?

The problem is Stephens will come to the end of his contract at the end of the season so if he doesn’t agree a new deal he’ll walk away for nothing, it could be worth taking that risk if he helps us to promotion, but….

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