The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

Born: Up­ton Park, 1979 (Age 35) 1996-99: Ni­cholls started his ca­reer at Charl­ton Ath­letic, mak­ing his de­but as a sub­sti­tute in a de­feat to Ipswich. A se­ri­ous knee in­jury ruled the mid­fielder out of most of the 97-98 sea­son, in­clud­ing the play-off fi­nal vic­tory against Sun­der­land. Failed to break into the team for the Addicks’ sea­son in the Premier League and spent a short spell on loan at Brighton.

Ni­cholls was trans­ferred to Wi­gan for £250,000, ris­ing to £650,000 based on ap­pear­ances. He was in­jured on his Lat­ics de­but, though, and didn’t play again for six months. Played 26 games the next sea­son and scored in the play-off semi-fi­nal de­feat to Read­ing.

Ni­cholls moved back south with Joe Kin­n­ear sign­ing him for Lu­ton for an ini­tial fee of £25,000. He be­came the club cap­tain in his first sea­son with the Hat­ters, lead­ing them to pro­mo­tion. Missed five months through in­jury in the 03-04 sea­son but bounced back to be named Lu­ton’ s player of the year the fol­low­ing cam­paign as the club won League One. 2006-08: Leeds signed Ni­cholls for £700,000 but he was in­jured in his first train­ing ses­sion. He made a quick re­cov­ery as his de­but came a month ear­lier than ex­pected. Den­nis Wise made the mid­fielder cap­tain but he was sent of f in his first game with the arm­band. Just 15 ap­pear­ances in, Ni­cholls left El­land Road and signed for Preston for £750,000. The ar­rival of Alan Irvine as man­ager seemed to halt his Preston ca­reer, though, and he was re­leased after just one year. 2008-present: Ni­cholls re­turned to Ke­nil­worth Road, again be­com­ing Lu­ton’s club cap­tain. He missed much of the 08-09 sea­son but r eturned to cap­tain the Hat­ters to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, beat­ing Scun­thorpe 3-2 at Wem­b­ley. Knee prob­lems be­gan to take their toll, though, and Ni­cholls made just 23 ap­pear­ances the next cam­paign be­fore leav­ing the club by mu­tual con­sent. He is cur­rently work­ing in player re­cruit­ment for foot­balling agency Elite Man­age­ment Agency.

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