• Championship Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion v Charlton Athletic

    Sami Hyypia’s side were forced to work for their third straight win in midweek, and after overcoming League One Swindon in the Capital One Cup after extra time, they’ll be looking to make it four wins heading into the international break.

    They welcome a Charlton side who have been the surprise package so far this season, with new management and players bringing hope of better things to come at the Valley.

    Bob Peeters has had a near perfect start to life as boss in South London since taking over from Jose Riga, with two wins and two draws in the league so far leaving them sitting in 5th place on eight points.

    Historically however, its Albion who have a surprising lead overall in the 55 games contested between them and the former Premier League side.

    The Seagulls have a win record of 23 to Charlton’s 21, with 11 of the games between the pair finishing square.

    It’s been in the past four years that we have taken the lead in terms of the number of fixtures won, with the two sides having traded wins and losses throughout the years in both League One and the Championship since 2010.

    One of the most memorable games between the sides in recent memory came at the Valley during our run to the League One title under Gus Poyet. The 4-0 victory in the Addicks back yard saw Inigo Calderon – a player with a knack for scoring against Charlton – and Kazenga Lua Lua on the scoresheet in one of the first games of the 2010-11 that highlighted Albion’s potential to go on and win the division that year.

    Forster-Caskey got on the score sheet against Charlton last season

    Last season saw a contrast of results, with the Addicks grabbing all three points on a boggy Boxing Day pitch at home, whilst Albion turned the tables in the return fixture at the Amex four months later.

    With squad rotation fully in motion for the Capital One Cup tie at Swindon in midweek, expect a number of players to return to the starting XI.

    David Stockdale, Gordon Greer, Joe Bennett, Danny Holla, Joaoa Teixeira and Craig Mackail-Smth could all make their returns to the starting line up from last weeks win against Bolton, with Adrian Colunga possibly in line for his home debut after a debut that saw him score and create a goal at Swindon. However a number of new faces could change things in that regard.

    Sam Baldock’s arrival from Bristol City is likely to immediately put him at the front of the striker queue in place of CMS, whatever happens.

    Gary Gardner’s loan-move from Aston Villa and the return from suspension of Andrew Crofts could see Jake Forser-Caskey drop to the bench.

    After picking up an injury during the League Cup tie at the County Ground on Tuesday night, Kazenga Lua Lua is the major doubt for the trip to Wiltshire, and will wait until today to decide whether he’s fit to play a part in the match.

    Dale Stephens and Solly March are still unable to feature for Albion, with Kemy Agustien’s chances of appearing also uncertain.

    With the current Addicks squad having undergone a major rehaul under new boss Bob Peeters, there are no players currently playing for them with strong links to Albion – though both Stephen Henderson and Simon Church have been linked with moves to the club in previous years.

    Former Addick Stephens won't play a part in today's game

    In the Albion squad, the aforementioned Stephens joined Albion from Charlton during the last January transfer window having spent three years at the Valley.

    The Bolton-born midfielder has made a positive impression so far in his Albion career, however an ankle ligament injury has prevented him from contributing under Hyypia, and it’s yet to be seen how much more time he will miss, with the loan of Gardner till January 1st covering for the 24-year old.

    Speaking to Charlton's club website earlier this week, Peeters spoke about the threat he felt Albion will pose his side.

    “An away trip is never easy. We saw at Huddersfield that when you need to go away it’s always a tough game.

    “It will be interesting to see how we cope because we’ve had three away games in a row - Huddersfield, then Derby and now Brighton - so hopefully we can get something out of it.

    “It will be a very difficult game. We have analysed Brighton and they are a very good side with very good players who can clinch the game in any second.”

    Charlton won’t be the pushovers that they may have been at the Amex in previous seasons. With his own man in charge in the dugout, chairman Roman Duchatelet has been willing to bring in new players and strengthen their squad to a point where relegation shouldn’t be a fear this season.

    Realistically they will be challenging in the same area as the table come the end of the season as Albion – top end of mid table hoping and to push for the play-offs.

    With the division still entirely unpredictable as always, it will be key for Brighton to pick up all three points against sides likely to be in and around them such as the Addicks if they are to make a challenge for the top six once again this season.
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