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    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Dick Head's Avatar
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    Brighton & Hove Albion vs Reading *** Official Match Thread ***


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    Brighton v Reading


    Sky Bet Championship

    Venue: The American Express Community Stadium
    Date: Saturday 25th February 2017
    Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
    Referee: Peter Bankes
    Assistants: Timothy Wood, Dan Cook
    Fourth official: Simon Hooper



    Brighton boss Chris Hughton has no new injury worries for the visit of fourth-placed Reading.

    Full-backs Gaetan Bong (knee) and Liam Rosenior (ankle) are edging closer to returns but centre-back Connor Goldson (heart) is out for the season.

    Reading hope to return to winning ways after a 1-0 defeat at promotion rivals Huddersfield on Tuesday.

    Royals defenders Paul McShane and Joey van den Berg could return from respective calf and hamstring injuries.

    The match is the first of two home games for the second-placed Seagulls against promotion rivals in quick succession, with Championship leaders Newcastle visiting the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.

    Brighton manager Chris Hughton told BBC Sussex:

    "We went through a difficult period by our standards, particularly away from home. At the time Barnsley felt like a big win, but at the moment they all do.

    "I see a group of teams around us and fortunately most of those are below us at the moment. They are all in very good form and capable of continuing good runs.

    "The Reading game gives us a fixture against a team that is very close to us in the division. It goes without saying it adds more meaning to the game, though ultimately it is about three points."

    Reading manager Jaap Stam told BBC Radio Berkshire:

    "We knew from the start of the season they [Brighton] were contenders to be at the top of the league.

    "They have a lot quality in the team, they deserve to be there and they have players who can always make a difference.

    "We need to be very focused on their qualities. If you give them time and space to play around the box, they can make a difference."

    MATCH FACTS

    • Brighton have recorded just one league win in their last 13 attempts against the Royals (D5 L7), although it arrived in this fixture last term.
    • After winning four in a row at Brighton between 2002 and 2012, Reading are winless in their last three league games on the south coast (D2 L1).
    • Brighton have suffered just two defeats in their last 26 league matches (W18 D6 L2), but both of these have come in 2017.
    • At home, Brighton have lost just one of their last 26 league matches (W19 D6 L1) - this coming versus Brentford in September 2016.
    • Garath McCleary has had a hand in 15 goals this season in the Championship for Reading (8 goals, 7 assists) - in his previous two seasons combined, he'd been involved in nine goals in 60 Championship apps for the Royals (5 goals, 4 assists).


    The Big Match Preview: Spotlight on Reading

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