Ex-Bristol Rovers, Crystal Palace and Millwall man makes non-league loan switch

Tony Craig has dropped out of the Football League for the first time in his career after leaving Crawley Town on loan.

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Former Bristol Rovers defender Tony Craig has dropped out of the Football League after joining Dorking Wanderers on loan from Crawley Town.

For the first time in Craig’s 20-year playing career, he will play outside the top four tiers of English football, after being allowed to leave Crawley. He has fallen down the pecking order at the League Two club and has not made the last five squads. He still has a year left on his contract, but his loan away from the Broadfield Stadium could spell the beginning of the end for him.

The 37-year-old will now play the remainder of the season at Dorking, who are currently 20th in the National League. They are two points above the relegation zone but have played a game more than 21st-placed Gateshead.

"I’m pleased to have joined Dorking Wanderers," said Craig to Dorking’s official club website. I’m really looking forward to meeting the lads but more importantly, I can’t wait to get started on Saturday."

Craig joined Rovers in February 2018, leaving Millwall on a free transfer after four spells as a player, where he made over 300 appearances. At the Gas, he spent two-and-a-half years and was near enough ever-present. Craig appeared 120 times for Rovers and scored seven goals.

He was released on a free transfer following the conclusion of the 2019/20 season and has been at Crawley ever since. The former Brentford defender has made 102 appearances for the Red Devils. Craig came up against Rovers earlier this season, featuring in the Carabao Cup win in August, where another former Rovers player Tom Nicholls scored the winner.

First-team manager Marc White added: "Tony’s experience speaks for itself, with over 750 league appearances mainly in the Championship and League One - he is the most experienced player ever to join Dorking Wanderers. He is a leader, a proven winner, and warrior having gained a popular status everywhere he has gone. He brings a wealth of leadership qualities, not least his ability to organise on the pitch and we are flattered to get his signature."