• Holloway: Brighton's position is shocking

    Ian Holloway returns to the Amex tonight for the first time since he guided unfancied Crystal Palace to play-off victory over Gus Poyet's in-form side, on a night Albion fans still try hard to forget.

    There has been intense peculation as to the future of Albion manager Sami Hyypia and Holloway knows all about the fragile life of football management. After steering Crystal Palace to the Premier League, he lasted only nine games before deciding he was not up to the task of trying to keep the club in the top flight. He had been at Palace for less than a year.

    After a few months out of the game, he re-emerged at tonight's opponents Millwall, taking over with the club sitting perilously close to the relegation trap-door. His goal was simple: ensure Millwall remained in the Championship, a goal he achieved on the very last day of the season.

    On the day Millwall secured safety, Leonardo Ulloa scored the goal that fired the Albion into the Championship play-offs for the second consecutive year and, despite falling short again, the Albion would have been expecting to be making another promotion push this season.

    That the Albion sit both in the relegation zone and below Millwall surprises the Lions' boss as much as everyone else: "Brighton got a different challenge to us because they have been in the play-offs and were unsuccessful in those and now where they find themselves is very shocking.

    "That euphoria that they had, which came from the marvellous new stadium and the squad they were building, carries a weight of expectation, It's been hard for them to follow through.

    "But they've just been able to attract Darren Bent, who lots of clubs would want, so they've still got fantastic ambitions. It's a frustrating time for them.

    "Nottingham Forest will feel the same because they have been in the play-offs lots of times and haven't gone up. You can become a 'nearly' club.

    "I really don't know why they're down there but they've had a couple of different managers and sometimes change can be destabilising.

    "Clubs want to have the same blueprint and that's what Swansea have done brilliantly.

    "Small, subtle changes can be very difficult for players. But I haven't really been looking at Brighton, I've got enough problems to solve of my own."


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