Q&A With Brighton & Hove Albion

  • February 27, 2015 | By David Williams
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/60b7d

Brighton & Hove Albion supporter Chris Field answers our questions ahead of the 18th meeting between Bolton and the Seagulls at Macron Stadium.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Tuesday, while Albion were 2-0 winners over Leeds United on the same evening.

In our latest edition of Q&A, Chris (@chrisfield25) shares his views on the job Chris Hughton has taken on at the AMEX Stadium, what has gone wrong after three seasons of chasing promotion, as well as which Wanderers players he fears most going into the weekend game.

Q: Since his appointment, do you feel Chris Hughton has had a positive impact at Brighton?

A: Yes, absolutely. He's done pretty well so far. Hughton is known (as a manager) to be quite a slow starter with clubs and he likes to take his time. He's no fire fighter in the mould of Tony Pulis, but more so someone who likes to take things slowly and not let any stone be left unturned.

He was actually very lucky that caretaker manager (and now first team coach) Nathan Jones really re-juvinated the squad AND CLUB and brought back the positive feel about the place. Hughton then won his first couple before a couple of lackluster performances when experimenting with the team.

Since we've had a settled squad, we've churned out some really good displays - grinding out results and clean sheets away from home, then some real stellar performances back at the AMEX such as the Leeds game on Tuesday night.

Q: After a number of years flirting with the play-offs, what's gone wrong this season?

A: I think last year we were quite lucky to sneak into the play-offs. There were five very good teams and whoever could nick that 6th place (as we did) were quite lucky to be there.

The hangover of losing in the play-offs and losing a manager two seasons in a row had a really bad effect on the club. Also, a lot of the players we had last season were really pushing the twighlight years of their career, so a lot left. We made quite a bit of money with several player sales (Leonardo Ulloa and Will Buckley) but we failed in REALLY replacing any quality.

Sami Hyypia came in and he was dealt a bit of a harsh card with the lack of inward transfer activity, but he just rarely got it right. It's fair to say when we got our performances right (Bolton at home, Leeds away) we were fantastic, but such performances didn't become very regular. Also, sympathising with Hyypia, the players just didn't really do it for him and we constantly looked like we lacked motivation.

Q: After two victories in a short space of time do you feel things have turned?

A: For sure. It's not just the two victories, it's been the change in the last month really.

It started with Nottingham Forest at home, where we played brilliantly but conceded three sloppy goals - you're not going to win games in the Championship doing that. Two away games followed, at Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday, where we showed some 'steel' to grind out a couple of draws and clean sheets, showing some good defensive resolute.

The two home games which followed, we played very well. I think we were all disappointed that we conceded three against Birmingham, but at least we scored four! Leeds, on the other hand, was a comfortable clean sheet and it really should have been 5 or 6-0!

Q: Who has been Brighton's most influential player this season?

A: There have been a few players who have shown signs of brilliance this season, but only one player has done it all season - Lewis Dunk. Previous to this current season, he had never scored a professional goal and yet this season the centre-half is our top scorer with seven goals - kind of tells the story of the season!

He's had his personal problems in the last couple of years but the club have always known how good this lad is. He is probably the best young English centre half around, with plenty of interested clubs.

One other player who deserves a mention is Joao Teixeira. He is a creative attacking midfielder on loan from Liverpool, who was very inconsistent early in the season. Much like our team performances, when he was good he was brilliant, but he'd often go missing. Now, he's obviously had clarification on his role and he's flourished in the number 10 role linking the midfield to the forward line. He's hit great form lately and I'd definitely keep an eye out for him.

One last mention goes to Beram Kayal, who I believe we beat off interest from Bolton to sign. I won't say much about him if you're unfamiliar with him, but watch him on Saturday.

Q: Do you feel there are any players to specifically worry about on the Bolton teamsheet?

A: There's quite a few names, to be fair. For me, the most obvious one is Adam Le Fondre, who is arguably the best natural goalscorer in the divison and I don't quite know why it didn't work out for him at Cardiff. Like I say, he will always score goals no matter what league he's in.

Another one is young Zach Clough. We're actually a similar age and an old friend from Wolverhampton Wanderers told me about him and he's looking the real deal at he moment. I believe he's scored five goals so far and hasn't looked like he fears the league - I think his pace can cause us problems.

The final one is pretty obvious, Emile...no I'm joking! Eidur Gudjohnsen. He's a brilliant player and I've always liked him since his Chelsea days. He's a real quality technician on the ball and I've got no doubt he's a valuable asset to the Bolton team.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Saturday's game?

A: You know me by now - I'm not a big fan of predictions but I've actually got the last three of our games correct - check out my previous Q&As, I really did!

I don't think there is a huge amount between us. We've hit a bit of good form just as you guys have dropped off. It's going to be one of those with either plenty of goals, or one/none.

My heart says we're going to grind out a 2-0 win, but my head says either 0-0 or 3-3! I'm actually really looking forward to it on Saturday, my first ever trip to Macron Stadium!

Burnden Aces would like to thank Chris for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @chrisfield25.

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
16 Tranmere Rovers 8 9
17 Grimsby Town 7 8
18 Bolton Wanderers 8 6
19 Barrow AFC 8 5
20 Stevenage 8 5
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