Tom Dallison played for half an hour with a broken toe during his first stint at Crawley Town.

Now the former Albion defender hopes for a rather less painful return – and a run to the League Two play-offs.

The 23-year-old from Kent has signed until the end of next season after leaving Falkirk, of the Scottish Championship, by mutual consent.

His move represents a timely return to this part of the country for the former Albion development squad centre-back.

Crawley were one of various clubs he joined on loan during five years of looking to make the grade with the Seagulls.

Now the time has come to pile up the appearances and become a regular in, initially, League Two.

Dallison told The Argus: “I was at Brighton for five years and every season I went out on loan. Every loan was a gradual improvement in standard.

“Dartford were bottom of the Conference, then I went to Braintree who were near the top of the Conference.

“I made my league debut at Crawley, I went to Cambridge and then to Accrington, who won League Two. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the game time I wanted.

“But going to Falkirk in the summer was the right decision at the time.

“I wanted to play regular football but it didn’t really go as planned.

“I signed for the manager Paul Hartley and three games into the season he got the sack.

“That’s part of the game. Scotland was good. I took a lot from it.

“But, when the offer from Crawley came, it was a no-brainer.”

Dallison recently became a father and said; “I’m based in Kent, 40 minutes from Crawley, so it’s better for my personal life. Everything about it makes sense.”

Dallison was impressed by Reds boss Gabriele Cioffi as they discussed plans.

He admitted: “The main attraction for me was the gaffer. I spoke to him and his enthusiasm and tactical awareness, everything about him, was the biggest selling point.”

Cioffi was a no-nonsense central defender with an eye for a set-piece goal during his playing days in Italy. Dallison hopes he can learn a few tricks of the trade.

He added: “Hopefully he will help me as a defender. He is a really outgoing character.”

Dallison was thrown into battle against League Two leaders Plymouth after going on loan to Crawley almost three years ago.

It was a potentially daunting debut but a late Shamir Fenelon goal gave Reds a good point in a match Dallison will never forget.

He said: “I broke my foot. It was the 60th minute and someone landed on it. I felt it go.

“I managed to finish the game but, when I came off and took my boot off, the foot went up like a balloon.

“It ruled me out for the rest of the season. Now I’m back here, it feels like unfinished business.”

Cioffi told The Argus recently he was keen to make signings in “two strong positions” after the New Year’s Day win over Colchester and Dallison is the first of those.

He arrives with Reds having taken seven points from their last three games ahead of Saturday’s trip to Stevenage.

Dallison said: “They have started the New Year well with three clean sheets in the last three games.

“We are nine or ten points off the play-offs.

“This season the play-offs has got to be the aim – and that is realistic.

“There is a lot to play for. I’m delighted to be here.”