Crawley Town forward Tom Nichols: John Yems has got the best out of me in my career
The impact of manager John Yems on Tom Nichols’ career was one of the key factors in the forward committing to Crawley Town.
The 28-year-old was rewarded with a new two-year contract, with the option for a further year, on September 4 after impressing for the Reds since his move from Bristol Rovers last summer.
Nichols netted 11 goals, and provided eight assists, in League Two last season, and was named Crawley’s Player of the Season.
And the striker said Yems’ management style, and the positive atmosphere that surrounds the squad, convinced him to remain at The People’s Pension Stadium.
He said: “He [Yems] has got the best out of me in my career. I really enjoy it. I am playing the best consistent football I have ever played.
“It’s not just me, he improves a lot of players. Some players who probably weren’t playing as much before he came in and are now mainstays in the teams.
“I feel a huge part of the team and the team suits the way I play. The team plays some really good football at times..
“We play to my strengths and there is a good team around me and there is a good atmosphere around the training ground which makes training enjoyable.
“The gaffer and Bradders [assistant manager Lee Bradbury] put on good sessions for us.
“It‘s serious at times because we are here to win but it’s a really good atmosphere and we get on really well.”
Nichols has already provided many memorable moments for Crawley Town.
He took home the match ball after bagging a hat-trick in the Reds’ thrilling 5-4 win at Torquay United in the first round of the FA Cup.
The forward provided the assist for Ashley Nadesan’s goal in Crawley Town’s famous 3-0 home win over Premier League outfit Leeds United in the third round.
The former Exeter City striker also scored in the 2-1 defeat at Championship side AFC Bournemouth in the following round.
He then won the League Two Goal of the Month award for March 2021 for his goal against Tranmere Rovers on March 6, receiving 43 per cent of the public vote.
And Nichols revealed he was enjoying his burgeoning status as the club’s talisman.
He said: “I really enjoy it, I do feel a big part of the side.
“It's not all about me of course. We are a team, but I do feel a big part of the team and in previous years I didn't feel that as much, which was partly my fault.
“I really enjoy playing for the team.”
Nichols missed the opening four games of Crawley’s 2021-22 League Two campaign due to injury.
He made his long-awaited Reds return in the 1-0 defeat at former club Bristol Rovers on September 4.
The striker said: “It was a frustrating one because I was sharp and fit and ready to go but then I got the injury which kept me out for six weeks or so.
“The first couple of games, I have not been rusty but I have not been completely match fit and haven’t haven’t been able to last a full game, but I got the 90 minutes under my belt the other night.
“Hopefully I can keep on getting fitter and sharper and improve on last season.”
Since his return, Nichols has led the line alongside 25-year-old Sam Ashford.
The duo have been paired up front in the last three Reds games, and are beginning to show signs of an effective partnership.
And Nichols was full of praise for his new strike partner.
He said: “I like playing with Sam, he works very hard and that’s all we ask, put a shift in and he does that.
“He got a nice little goal the other night which I whipped in for him. It was nice that he finished it.
“I am pleased for him. He works very hard in training and he worked hard over the summer.”