The Reds have a very good record against sides in the top half of the league this season - and their final few games, which will see them bidding for a late push into the play-off places, contains more such tussles.
Nichols said everyone was delighted with Friday night's 1-0 win at home to Cheltenham that came courtesy of sub Jordan Maguire-Drew’s winner 13 minutes from time. Nichols had missed a fine chance to break the deadlock earlier when he was gifted a careless back pass, but he was unable to slot the ball past the onrushing Josh Griffiths.
Despite him not scoring it was still an inspired performance from Nichols, who said: “It was a tough game, obviously they’re top of the league, but the boys at the back are doing unbelievable work at the moment, another clean sheet, and we deserved it. We missed some chances, I missed one – could’ve tucked that one away – but we played really well and I think we deserved it."
Nichols had a brief loan spell at Cheltenham Town last season, but he insisted he didn’t need any extra motivation: “I wasn’t thinking about that too much to be honest, I just wanted to win for Crawley and yes I should’ve scored, but I’m happy with one and that’s all that matters at this stage of the season.
"We’ve got four games to go, and we’ve got to try to win them all, to try and get into the play-offs and that’s what we’re going to try and do.
“They’re a big side, they launched the ball in the box, and they were very dangerous from their long throw-in. Jordan (Tunnicliffe) and Joe (McNerney) were absolutely brilliant and headed everything, so hats off to them”.
Nichols was also full of praise for the young full-backs, Archie Davies and Nick Tsaroulla: “They’re getting better with every game, they’re young lads and they’ve got a nice partnership going on there. They’re doing really well and long may it continue."
Crawley will be looking for a third win on the bounce when they travel to promotion-chasing Newport County next Tuesday.
Nicholl: “It’s another big team, we tend to play better against the better teams in the league, which is good. On paper we’ve got a really hard run of fixtures, but that almost suits us. We know we’ve got to win, we’ll have a game plan and we’ll see what we can do.
“I don’t know if it’s our style of play, we are quite a counter-attacking team, Nadesan is really good at stretching the line, and we do better in these games, so we’ll be looking forward to those."