Albion travel to fellow promotion contenders West Ham on Saturday in search of an unlikely victory that could help put their play-off push back on track.
Consecutive defeats have left the Seagulls on the brink of the play-offs, 2 points adrift of Cardiff in 6th. A win here would be a much needed boost approaching the season’s climax. Poyet’s men will, however, have to improve on their recent away form if they’re to achieve a result.
Allardyce’s West Ham have been under intense scrutiny this season, with many expecting them to have stormed the division given the players at their disposal. They still have a slim chance of auto-promotion, but the play-offs would appear their most likely route out of the division.
Gus Poyet is looking for a reaction from his side in-front of a sizable Upton Park crowd. He told seagulls.co.uk..
‘I absolutely loved playing at West Ham. Ninety-nine per cent of the time the stadium is full, there is always plenty of noise and most footballers enjoy playing in that environment.
‘There is always something special about playing there because it’s a magnificent place to play football. The pitch is always perfect and that’s what you play football for.
‘I’m looking forward to seeing how this set of players react to playing at West Ham. It will be a great test and a chance to learn for the future of this club.’ ___________________________________________________________
Sam Allardyce is anticipating a different contest to the one against Birmingham on Monday. Speaking to their official site, he explained..
‘Brighton will want to come and express themselves more than Birmingham did so I think we will have to use a different method and different tactics to make sure that we don’t allow them to get in their flow and then we must pick off their weaknesses which we know they have.
‘What matters is what happens in both penalty areas; we need to make sure they don’t get in our box and when we get in theirs we must make sure we take our chances and win the game on Saturday.’
West Ham United Team News:
West Ham team news to be confirmed..
Player to watch: Ricardo Vaz Te
Signed from Barnsley in January, where he hit a goal every other game – Vaz Te has continued that scoring form for the Hammers. Full of pace and trickery, Albion will do well to keep the Portuguese live-wire at bay.
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Liam Bridcutt looks likely to return to the heart of Albion’s midfield, having completed his 2-match suspension.
Craig Noone’s fitness is being monitored, whilst Joe Mattock should return to training on Friday – after missing out against Reading.
Tommy Elphick (achilles) remains on the sidelines with long-term injury.
Player to watch: Vicente Rodriguez
Vicente continues to exert his influence for the Seagulls, in an advanced playmaker role. The Spaniard has chipped in with a number of crucial assists in recent months, and will be hoping for more of the same at Upton Park.
Match Facts & Stats
Kevin Nolan pounced on a Liam Bridcutt error to score the only goal in a narrow Hammers victory at the Amex earlier in the season. Albion dominated possession, but were unable to break down their stubborn opponents.
The last two meetings at Upton Park brought contrasting fortunes for the Seagulls. In the 06/07 season, with two divisions separating the sides, Albion were on the end of a convincing 3-0 defeat in an FA Cup tie.
A few years prior to that, Guy Butters headed home to clinch a famous ‘backs to the wall’ 1-0 victory in a Championship clash.
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