• Championship Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion v Huddersfield Town

    Having been beaten for the third game in a row against Bournemouth last week, Albion will be hoping to rediscover their scoring boots for the visit of Huddersfield to the Amex this evening.

    Friday nightís south-coast clash saw very few chances created by either side, with Leon Best having the Seagullís solitary effort on target, however their opponents put away both of their shots on goal in the closing stages of the match. Yann Kermorgantís free kick with 20 minutes to go handed the Cherries the lead, with Callum Wilson going on to add a second later on in the game.

    With Chris Hughtonís side not managing to put the ball in the back net against the league leaders, it means that as of today, itís been exactly a month since a Brighton player scored, with their last goal coming courtesy of an opposition player at Blackburn.

    The inability to find goal scoring form at this point of the season will be frustrating for all at the club, given that their Championship safety is not yet secured for next season.

    However with Millwall continuing to drop points in their matches, at this point it looks like Albion will survive thanks to other teams being worse than them on the pitch, as opposed to them pulling themselves out of trouble.

    The Lions still have a game in hand on most of the teams in and around the bottom of the table, however a defeat for them against Wigan and victory for Albion would all but put us out of their reach, with at least a draw against the Lactics at the DW Stadium on Saturday meaning that both the club and its fans go into the final two games of the season with less pressure on their shoulders.

    With Rotherham also looking likely to pick up a point deduction for fielding an ineligible player against the Seagulls on Easter Monday, the likelihood of Albion being dragged into the relegation scrap decreases.

    However to make life easier for themselves, they need to find the scoring form that served them well at the Amex against the likes of Birmingham, Ipswich and Derby against the Terriers this evening.

    Having passed the 50-point mark after wins in their last two games, Chris Powell has all but secured his sideís position in the division for next year. Whilst they have lost as many games as Albion this season, the West Yorkshire outfit have been able to grind out wins as opposed to dropping points in some games, and can play without any pressure going into their final four games.

    Going into todayís game, Albion will believe they have a good chance of extending their current run of form against their opponents. They are unbeaten in the last five games between the clubs since Huddersfield were promoted to the Championship in 2012, with the Seagulls winning on two occasions.

    The last time three points was secured at the Amex saw the first hat-trick scored at the ground, as Leonardo Ulloa continued to impress after his move to the club in the January transfer window, putting away three goals in the 4-1 demolition of the visitors.

    Games between the pair have been tighter affairs since then, with the most recent three games finishing all square at full time. This was the case up at the John Smiths Stadium earlier in the season, as first half goals from both sides meant the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

    Lewis Dunk found the back of the net on that occasion, and whilst the defender hasnít been as prolific in front of goal in the second half of the season, he may have the chance to threaten the Terriers once again tonight.

    The 23-year old has played the last two games in the back four alongside Greg Halford, however with Gordon Greerís two-match suspension up, Albionís skipper could return to the starting line-up this evening. With Halford having impressed in the back four recently, there is every chance Dunk could make way if Greer is to straight back into the side.

    Albionís only short-term injury concern going into the game is whether Beram Kayal will be fit to play after picking up a knock against the Cherries four days ago.

    The Israeli has been one of the most impressive players in the side since joining from Celtic in January, and his dynamism in the midfield will be missed if he doesnít feature.

    Kayal may not feature after picking up a knock in Friday's 2-0 defeat

    Speaking on the club website ahead of the game, Hughton spoke about the sideís struggles in front of goal, and gave his thoughts on where they may have been going wrong in recent games.

    ďItís maybe a question of perhaps making some wrong choices in that final third in front of goal, and lacking a bit of guile and quality in certain periods of games.

    ďIt could be down to a lack of confidence, but whatever it is, we havenít been able to get the goals that we wanted.

    "We are conscious that our work in the final third has to have an end product. A goal would alleviate that little bit of pressure and once we get that, then weíll move on from there.Ē

    With seemingly nothing to play for in their final four games of the season, itís hard to predict what kind of test the Terriers will pose for Albion tonight.

    However that doesnít means that they will roll over and make it easy for us to try and win to secure our own status in this league for next season, and with the pressure off they may choose to take the game to us.

    As Hughton alluded to in his press conference, there is a real need for us to make much better use of the ball in the final third, with players needing to take chances when they can, and not to look for that next pass Ė as is often the case.

    Many of our attacking players need to step up to the plate and make the most of their time on the pitch. Some, such as Craig Mackail-Smith, will be playing knowing their contracts are up in the summer, and these next four games will be their last chance to make an impression on Hughton before then.

    Right now many fans are apathetic because of the way we are simply limping over the line, and just want the season to be over. For their sake, a strong performance, goals, and ensuring we survive on our own merit and not just because other teams lost would help raise their spirits.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. BensGrandad's Avatar
      BensGrandad -
      3 points tonight please
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