Bolton Wanderers midfielder Keith Andrews eager to extend Brighton stay

Keith Andrews

Keith Andrews

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

KEITH Andrews wants to stay on at Brighton next season even though the club missed out on the play-off final yesterday.

The Irishman heads back to Wanderers this summer after spending several months on loan at the Amex Stadium.

Dougie Freedman has claimed that the experienced midfielder could even make a surprise return to contention next season, if he accepts that his first-team chances will be limited.

Andrews played for Oscar Garcia’s side last night as they were beaten 6-2 on aggregate over two legs by Derby County to end their chances of playing in the Premier League.

Brighton have not yet indicated whether they will look to sign Andrews permanently.

But the 33-year-old Dubliner has developed an affection for the Seagulls after making 37 appearances for them in all competitions this term, and admits he would certainly consider spending another spell at the club.

“It would be something I’d be interested in,” he said.

“When the people are so good to you and make you feel so welcome, the fans have been fantastic, it’s a one-club town.

"No-one supports anyone else and the attendances are something that I haven’t experienced in football for a long, long time.

“We’ve got the best attendances in the whole league although other clubs in the league are supposedly bigger.

“It’s a club I would like to stay involved in but contract-wise I’m contracted to a different club next season, I’m only here on loan.

“These things are not always in your hands and you can’t always dictate where you go and how your career pans out.

“But I would certainly like to stay on at Brighton into the future because I have thoroughly enjoyed it this year.”

Andrews spent a little over a year at Wanderers after being signed on a free transfer from West Brom by Owen Coyle in July 2012.

An Achilles problem hampered his progress at first but soon after Freedman’s arrival his fortunes seemed to have turned as he became a regular starter, weighing in with four goals in six games over the Christmas period.

Further problems with his Achilles and a torn thigh muscle then ruled him out for the rest of the campaign by mid-January.

Andrews played the first two games of the season for Wanderers but was shipped out to Brighton on loan in August.

Playing in front of the Championship’s biggest average gate of 27,283 at the Amex, Andrews feels that the club are set up for top flight football.

“You hear a lot of clubs shouting from the rooftops that they are a Premier League club in waiting but this one is genuine,” he said.

“The people here have a genuine love for the club and it’s one I firmly believe deserves to be in the Premier League.”

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