Q&A With Brighton & Hove Albion

  • September 20, 2013 | By Robert Hurst
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/0ef7f

Bolton travel to Brighton on Saturday, and we have got the views of a Seagulls supporter ahead of the game.

Having dropped to the bottom of the Championship after a 2-2 draw with Derby County on Tuesday night, Wanderers go to the AMEX Stadium at the weekend knowing they need to win a game sooner rather than later.

As Trotters supporters prepare to make the trip to the south coast, we have spoken to Telford Seagull from Brighton website North Stand Chat. Telford, who did not disclose his real name, is a 19-year-old who is from the West Midlands town. His first match was against Shrewsbury Town in the late 1990's and his favourite player, former Seagulls goalkeeper Michel Kuipers.

In our latest edition of Q&A, Telford shares his thoughts on why Oscar Garcia is a more than adequate replacement for Gus Poyet, Dougie Freedman's future as Bolton manager and why Brighton supporters have an early Player of the Season candidate in Keith Andrews.

Q: Brighton occupy 13th place in the Championship, after seven games. How has this season been for you so far?

A: I think most fans will agree with me when I say that I'd be pretty happy with the start of the season for us. We've obviously had a few changes, both on and off the pitch, which did have a slight effect on us at the start of the season.

A big miss on the pitch is obviously at left-back where, last season, we had Wayne Bridge, and we started this season without an out-and-out left back. I look at it as no coincidence that our form and performances have been much improved with the addition of Stephen Ward at left back, who has been fantastic so far. Also we've been really unlucky with injuries so far this season, with some of our most influential players being out through injury - Liam Bridcutt, Andrea Orlandi and Craig Mackail-Smith, among others.

Q: How confident are you about the coming season, and what position do you think the Seagulls can achieve?

A: I am very confident that we can compete up in the top-six this season. There seems to be this belief that 'we were only good because of (Gus) Poyet' whereas I'd definitely disagree with that.

We still play the attractive brand of football; I just think that under Oscar Garcia we are much more attacking and flamboyant. He's not afraid to go after teams and risk a point in order to gain three, just like Leeds in the first game of the season.

With Oscar, us as fans are pretty relaxed about expectations this season as we know it could take time and this is backed up with Oscar's approach of taking it game-by-game. When we get all our injured players back I'd probably have a much better idea, but, I think, even with the squad we have available at the current time we could challenge. At Christmas we will have a much better idea of how our season will finish.

Q: Meanwhile, Bolton sit at the foot of the Championship with no wins and three draws in the league so far. Do you think Dougie Freedman can turn the bad start around and achieve promotion this season?

A: Well well well, it's Dougie 'f***ing' Freedman isn't it? Do you really think a Brighton fan could say anything positive about Mr Crystal Palace?

In all seriousness, though, he seemed to rejuvenate yourselves last season after a poor start under Owen Coyle. I also wouldn't underestimate the experience and influence of Lennie Lawrence. When you look at the pair together at Palace, it would be fair to say that the solid unit that they became was down to Lawrence. He built them as a big strong team - with signings such as Jedinak, Dikgacoi and Parr - and allowed Freedman to eventually inject pace and flair from the youth of Zaha & Williams, as well as signings such as Bolasie and Moritz, who obviously is now at Bolton.

You had a great run during the second-half of last season and I think most of your fans will agree that run coincided with defensive solidarity shown in the signing of Craig Dawson from West Brom. Realistically you, as most teams in this division may argue they do also, have players who can hurt teams on their day such as Jermaine Beckford, Chris Eagles, Andre Moritz et al. So, for sure, you will probably feel that you will be up there challenging. I don't completely feel that you won't be there; I just think that at the current time I can't see you achieving promotion. But there's a long long way to go and the Championship is an incredibly unpredictable league, so I don't think any team - bar possibly QPR - can expect promotion this early on.

Q: Who will finish higher this season; Bolton or Brighton?

A: Again, like I said in the last question, this league is so unpredictable. No one can say they will finish in a certain position or above another team.

Again, I'd say lets have a look about Christmas/January time before we can say who's going to finish higher. If I was going to stick my neck out I'd say I feel that at the moment we would finish higher. We've been dreadfully unlucky with injuries and suspensions so far and we still seem to have a good squad together, however I won't be shocked to see Bolton go on a good run this season. Also, I think it's fair me saying that we would finish above you due to our league positions at the moment. But Bolton have fantastic resources and could very well get themselves up there......WHO KNOWS?!

Q: Keith Andrews is currently on loan at the AMEX from Bolton. What do you think of him?

A: Well I'm friends with a few Bolton fans, actually, and they were absolutely delighted we had taken them off you guys. At the time I thought it was a decent signing and perhaps some shrewd business, as he could add a bit of something to our midfield.

'A bit of something' - Wow, I was wrong!

He has been nothing short of quality in every game he's played so far. I knew of his qualities as a box-to-box midfielder, but since he has been with us he has covered in Bridcutt's absence sitting in front of the backline and linking the defence into the midfield. Honestly, he's been fantastic with us and we really don't look like we're missing Bridcutt with his amazing midfield displays. For me, he brings the quality of experience that I feel we missed last year and could be the difference between gaining promotion and missing out. I would be absolutely delighted if we could take him off your hands.

Q: The loan window opened for Football League clubs last week. If you could sign any young player on loan, who would it be?

A: Tough question really, but one thing is for sure - we need another striker. At the current time we only have Leonardo Ulloa, who is absolutely fantastic, but unfortunately for us he's suspended for a couple of games yet.

Ashley Barnes - who you will know from the red card he got at the Reebok last season in strange circumstances - is a very good player, but only made his come back from injury against Reading, before 90 impressive minutes at QPR. However, he is used to being used as a more withdrawn attacking player, either in front of the midfield or a covering left winger. Bar that, we only have the youth of George Barker and Ben Dickensen, or even attacking midfielders such as Will Buckley or Kazenga LuaLua.

Now for the player I'd like us to sign. Jonathan Obika - from Spurs - has been very strongly rumoured to be signing on loan as soon as he is fit and he could do a good job. Personally, I would have liked to have seen his Spurs teammate Harry Kane down at The AMEX. He's a talented young striker who would fit in perfectly with our style of play and he has a decent goalscoring record. The player who was linked with us throughout the transfer window was Luciano Becchio. Now I know he's not a 'young' player, but he's a striker who I'd love to see come in on loan.

Q: Who should Bolton be wary of from the Brighton teamsheet?

A: Well, I'd say you might be quite lucky in that some of our most threatening players are out of the game. The likes of Orlandi, Ulloa, and Mackail-Smith would cause some problems to any team in this division. We have our fans favourite 'Spanish Dave' - David Lopez - who is a fantastic footballer, playing most of his career in La Liga for Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao, as well as being one of our best performers at the back end of last season. Also, with the game being dubbed 'Spanish Day', it surely has to happen doesn't it?

Other players would be Will Buckley and Kazenga LuaLua, from wide, and if they are both given the opportunity I'd watch out for those two. Craig Conway has just signed on loan from Cardiff and might cause some problems if he can settle for us. Also, despite his petulance at the Reebok last season and even despite what some Albion fans may tell you, don't underestimate Ashley Barnes.

Q: Which Bolton player do you think Oscar Garcia will be telling his charges to watch out for?

A: Like I said earlier, Bolton have some real match winners in their side. The obvious name would be Jermaine Beckford, who has a great record of scoring goals. However - touch wood - he hasn't actually impressed in games against us in the past. But, trust me, I will not be underestimating him!

Another name for me, personally, would be Craig Davies. He's a former player of ours and did score in his last game against us, and he's got talent. I know the lad pretty well too as he is originally from where I am (Telford) and he regularly comes back home. It won't shock me if he gets himself on the scoresheet on Saturday.

Other players such as Andre Mortiz and Chris Eagles will no doubt look to cause problems. One name I am quite happy to not see on your teamsheet is Marcos Alonso. I thought he was impressive against us last season and I am sure the players will be happy to not be facing him again.

Q: Finally, what do you think the final score will be at the AMEX on Saturday?

A: I think it could really go one of two ways. You'd have to say, on current form, we should win but that's not how football works. With our good form, it would be nice to see a comfortable 2/3-0 win. I have absolutely nothing against Bolton, but I'd love it if we won by a few goals and it meant Freedman lost his job.

There is then the other side of things. Obviously your early season form hasn't been great, but with some good team spirit I don't see any reason why you couldn't cause us problems and nick a win. Also, we don't have a great record against the management team of Freedman & Lawrence; losing twice, drawing twice and not winning once. I don't like making score predictions particularly, but I feel it could be a 2-0/3-1 to the Albion with our recent performances really looking good.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Telford Seagull for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him, and the views of other Brighton supporters, by checking out our Q&A thread at northstandchat.com.

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