FORMER Shakers captain Stephen Dawson cannot wait to line up against Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and Co on Sunday.

The former Shakers captain admits it was a heart-breaking decision to leave Gigg Lane for League One side Leyton Orient in the summer.

But he feels he has made the right decision as he prepares to lock horns with Premier League giants Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend.

“It is going to be a dream to play against one of the best players in the world,” said Dawson, who has led his new team to the cusp of the play-off places.

“I felt I had to move from Bury because, like in any job, I am not happy just to pick up a wage. I want to do well in my career and keep progressing to play at a higher level.

“I feel I am doing that at the moment but I am never content. Don’t get me wrong, if Bury had gone up last season I would have been the first person to sign on but I had to do what is best for my career.

“I know Bury played a huge part in my development and I still keep in touch with some of the lads. They are the first result I look out for when I leave the pitch and, whenever I get chance to get to a game, I do so because I want to see them doing well.

“I am hoping that it will be third time lucky for them this season, like it was for Rochdale. I saw them on the television last week and I was really impressed with how well they are playing.”

Like he was at Gigg Lane, Dawson is something of a terrace favourite at Brisbane Road thanks to his all-action performances in midfield.

And he is hoping to get the better of Fabregas and Co, who hosted Barcelona in the Champions League last night.

“Hopefully Xavi and Iniesta gave Cesc the runaround so he is tired and I can catch him,” joked Dawson.

“It’s going to be great to lead my team out against such a big club and hopefully Arsenal are not used to playing at somewhere like Brisbane Road and we can pull of a shock.”