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Opposition View: Brighton & Hove Albion

3 February 2017

The Brighton Argus' reporter Brian Owen previews Sunday's opponents

Given the current league position are Brighton fans beginning to believe this will be the season to achieve promotion?

I think they are very confident but events on Thursday at the John Smith’s Stadium underlined there is still a lot of work to do. They have their best chance for many years, of course, but ‘will’ is probably just a bit too strong. The reaction to the 3-1 defeat by an excellent Huddersfield side will be interesting.

How much praise does Chris Hughton deserve for their standing this season, especially given the finale to last season?

He deserves huge praise, as do chairman Tony Bloom and his board for keeping the squad together despite significant offers for star players. Hughton’s story with Brighton started here at Griffin Park in an FA Cup tie and their current standing is a result of work which started from that day.

We inflicted Brighton’s only home defeat of the season, will there be a little element of revenge desired on Sunday?

Possibly but I suspect if there is to be a reaction to any result, it will be to that Huddersfield game, when Brighton failed to perform even after getting back into the contest at 1-1. That experience will loom larger in collective memories than the home game against The Bees.

It was a fairly quiet January transfer wise, a case of don’t fix what isn’t broken?

A case of adding what was seen as the most obvious missing piece in a striker you will know well, Chuba Akpom. Brighton were close to signing Alex Pritchard in the summer, as you may be aware. That revealed a desire to bring in a No.10 type. Akpom is more of a striker but he is a timely addition taking them to four senior frontmen.

Why should Brighton win promotion this season and conversely, what, if anything, could stop them?

Consistency and the ability to ride out storms and come up with a way of winning tight games have been trademarks this season, as has their excellent home form (the Brentford game excepted). The fact there are so many games left and many teams might improve in the coming weeks in the quest for promotion, the play-offs or safety mean there is a lot of work to do. But, of course, they are in a very good position and deservedly so.

Who should Brentford fans be looking out for this Sunday player wise and how do you think Brighton will approach the game?

With centre-back Lewis Dunk missing but Dale Stephens possibly back, Brighton fans will be looking at how the back line and central midfield cope with Brentford’s short and sharp passing game, which is similar to that with which Huddersfield beat them on Thursday. Brighton’s approach will be to be more secure than they were against the Terriers and better with the ball. The obvious man for home fans to look out for is winger Anthony Knockaert.

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