Scoring Against Relegation Rivals Key To Survival - Hughton

CC BY SA-2.0 // James Boyes

Brighton boss Chris Hughton has spoken about the significance games against sides fighting for Premier League survival have gained heading into the second half of the season.

Only ten points separate the bottom half of the division, with 13th placed Albion going into tomorrow's clash with Stoke three points above their opponents, who currently sit in the relegation zone.

With Saturday's clash the second of three this month against sides fighting the drop, Hughton says it will take a good run of form in front of goal for any team to drag themselves to safety.

"It is tight. It will be the team that shows that little bit more or is able to score goals that can get themselves out of that group of teams.

"It's incredibly competitive and I see that continuing. It seems like any game between teams in those group of teams instantly becomes bigger for both teams."

Whilst the Seagulls next opponents go into tomorrow's game on the back of a narrow loss to Bournemouth, they have proven to be resurgent since a managerial change in the dugout last month.

Paul Lambert took over from Mark Hughes in the middle of January and picked up four points from his first two games before last weekend's defeat in Dorset.

Hughton spoke about what he is expecting from their opponents under the former Norwich boss.

“The managerial change has given them a lift and they’ll look to create an atmosphere at home – it can be a tough place to go and we’ll have to deal with that.” 

“What I know of Paul is that he did an outstanding job at Norwich City and he likes to play on the front foot. 

“He likes to play a very attacking style of play and he’s very experienced – he can set up teams against any opposition but it’s generally entertaining – that’s what all supporters want to see.

“You can only prepare on what we’ve seen and they’ve got a lot of options in the squad to vary their style and you musn’t over prepare for one more than any other.”

The Seagulls have received a massive boost going into the game, with their record signing set to be in the squad for the first time.

Jurgen Locadia joined the club from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven last month, however he only returned to training from a hamstring injury he was suffering from on his arrival.

Whilst Hughton would have liked more time to work with the 24-year old, he is pleased to have another striking option at his disposal ahead of another tough clash in the top flight.

"He will be in the squad for Saturday, and he’s had a good week and a half of training. It's good to have him available.

"The biggest shame is that we haven't had a few weeks to work with him more on the training pitch and get to know him better but it's something we accept we knew that when we took him injured.

"We're still to find some things out about him, but we know the reason we brought him. He's an offensive player that has a good record at his previous club this season."

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