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OPPOSITION VIEW: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

19 November 2014

Essential reading on this weekend's opponents

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION

Nickname: The Seagulls
Manager: Sami Hyypia
2013-14: 6th
Ground: American Express Community Stadium
Fastest road route from Carrow Road: 176 miles (3 hours 4 minutes)

THE LOWDOWN
Seagulls chairman Tony Bloom says the club are ready to spend in January as they attempt to inject some forward momentum into what’s so far been a challenging campaign.

After drawing 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers prior to the break for internationals, Albion are positioned dangerously close to the Sky Bet Championship relegation places in 20th spot with 17 points from 17 games.

"Generally January is not a place I like to do business but for the right player at the right price, we certainly will,” admitted Bloom recently when speaking to the BBC.


The south coast outfit recently ended a worrying run of 12 without a win by beating Wigan Athletic on home turf, a match in which Canaries loanee Elliott Bennett – who is ineligible this weekend – made his second debut for the club.

That was only their third victory of the campaign, however, and Argus reporter Andy Naylor says they have fallen the wrong side of the ‘fine margins’ at this level.

“Albion have been paying a heavy price for individual mistakes in their own box and failing to make the most of their chances at the other end,” he outlined.

Brighton made the play-offs at the climax of the last two seasons but expectations will have been dampened by the summer departure of star striker Leonardo Ulloa to Leicester.

This is their fourth consecutive term in the second tier after succeeding the Canaries as League One champions in 2011 under the stewardship of Gus Poyet.

The two teams last met in 2010, and it’s Norwich who lead the overall head-to-head record with 31 wins to the Seagulls’ 29.

THE BOSS
Sami Hyypia returned to English football when he was appointed as Oscar Garcia’s replacement in June.


As a popular defender at Liverpool for ten years between 1999 and 2009, the Finnish stopper won Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup winners’ medals before finishing his playing career at Bayer Leverkusen.

It was with the German side that Hyypia took on his first managerial role, initially as part of a duo with Sascha Lewandowski. He assumed sole responsibility for the first team in the summer of 2013 but was sacked in April.

Andy Naylor spoke of Hyypia’s ‘tough baptism’ at the Amex Stadium.

“By the time he was appointed the squad revamping process was already partially under way,” he explained.

“Injuries have not helped, including cruciate knee ligament damage suffered by unfortunate former Canary Andrew Crofts for the second time in ten months.

“Albion have been a nearly team so far under the likeable Finn -  seven out of ten draws in the league, only one defeat by more than a goal but only one win in 13.”

CLICK HERE FOR BRIGHTON'S OFFICIAL WEBSITE

THE SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Ali Al-Habsi, David Stockdale, Casper Ankegren, Christian Walton

Defenders: Bruno, Gordon Greer (c), Aaron Hughes, Lewis Dunk, Inigo Calderon, Joe Bennett, Greg Halford.

Midfielders: Dale Stephens, Andrew Crofts, Kemy Agustien, Joao Carlos Teixeira, Jake Forster-Caskey, Gary Gardner, Paddy McCourt, Danny Holla, Rohan Ince, Kazenga LuaLua, Solly March, Nzuzi Toko, Elliott Bennett.

Forwards: Adrian Colunga, Sam Baldock, Chris O’Grady, Craig Mackail-Smith, Shamir Fenelon.

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