Brighton & Hove Albion welcome Huddersfield Town to the Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kick-off 3pm, and Chris Hughton’s team go in search of their first Premier League victory in 2019.
Despite producing some relatively positive displays since the turn of the year, the Seagulls have only been able to add two draws since their 1-0 victory over Everton towards the end of December.
Hughton’s men came close to securing a share of the spoils at Leicester City on Tuesday evening, after Davy Propper fired his first goal for the club, but missed chances in the second half proved costly.
Huddersfield, who sit bottom of the Premier League, picked up their first victory since the end of November on Tuesday — Steve Mounie’s stoppage-time winner sealed a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers and closed the gap on 17th position.
Hughton confirmed that Pascal Gross will be unavailable for Saturday’s game — the German picked up a hamstring injury and Huddersfield’s visit comes too soon.
Leon Balogun will also miss out with a shoulder injury, but Hughton has an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from.
Huddersfield are expected to have three players missing through injury for the game — Adama Diakhaby [hamstring], Isaac Mbenza [calf] and Danny Williams [knee] all remain sidelined.
The Seagulls are still searching for their first league win of 2019, however Hughton’s team have reached the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup after wins against AFC Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Derby County.
Albion’s 2-1 defeat at the King Power Stadium came after Burnley’s 3-1 win at the Amex Stadium earlier this month, which leaves the team sitting 16th in the Premier League table after 27 matches.
Hughton’s side have created numerous chances over recent games, but impressive goalkeeping displays and misses in front of goal have restricted Albion to just two points from seven matches.
The Terriers ended a run of five consecutive defeats with their second victory over Wolves this season, but Jan Siewert’s team remain bottom of the pile in the Premier League.
It was only Huddersfield’s third victory of the season and the West Yorkshire club find themselves 13 points from safety as the league season enters its final months.
LAST TIME WE MET
Despite getting off to a bad start at the John Smith’s Stadium in December, the Seagulls managed to turn the game on its head after Mounie’s 32nd-minute sending off.
Zanka gave the hosts the lead inside the opening minute of the game, after Bruno’s sliced clearance caused trouble inside Albion’s penalty area — but Mounie’s dismissal for a foul on Yves Bissouma gave Hughton’s side their own kind of advantage.
Shane Duffy levelled just before half-time from Solly March’s delightful cross, and Florin Andone, who started his first game in the Premier League, proved the match-winner in the 69th minute.
Andone glanced a header into the back of the net from another brilliant March delivery, and the Seagulls saw out the remainder of the game to claim a well-deserved three points.
LAST TIME OUT: ALBION
LEICESTER CITY 2
Albion line-up: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens (Izquierdo 81), Propper, March (Locadia 67); Gross (Bissouma 51); Murray.
Subs not used: Button (GK), Burn, Bernardo, Jahanbakhsh.
LAST TIME OUT: HUDDERSFIELD
Huddersfield line-up: Lossl; Duhaney (Bacuna 46), Schindler, Kongolo, Durm; Hogg, Stankovic (Kachunga 82), Billing; Pritchard (Mooy 78); Grant, Mounie.
Subs not used: Hamer (GK), Lowe, Jorgensen, Depoitre.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Karlan Grant
The forward joined Huddersfield after a successful start to the season with Sky Bet League One side Charlton — he scored 14 goals in 28 matches before switching to the John Smith’s Stadium.
Grant helped the Terriers to victory over Wolves on his first Premier League start, and the striker notched his first top-flight goal against Arsenal during his seven-minute appearance earlier this month.
The 21-year-old is likely to be called upon for his pace and finishing in front of goal towards the end of the season, as the Terriers look to edge closer to safety and avoid relegation to the second tier.