Charlie Oatway expects a sell-out City Ground crowd to spur Nottingham Forest on when the Seagulls visit on Saturday, but has encouraged the Albion players to take control of the crunch game.
The winning team will finish the weekend in the play-off positions with seven games remaining and, despite Forest having the home advantage, Oatway has full confidence in Gus Poyet’s group of players.
Oatway told seagulls.co.uk, “I’ve played there a couple of times and it’s a magnificent place to play. The club’s got a fantastic history and they are trying to achieve what everyone else is trying to achieve.
“They have a fantastic squad and a manager [Billy Davies] who knows the club inside out. He’s done a very good job since he’s been there and it would be brilliant for us if we can burst their bubble, but that’s easier said than done.
“He’s done well since he’s come in but their position doesn’t surprise me – I was more surprised at where they were in the first place, because Forest were one of my tips to be around the promotion places.
“It’s going to be a sell-out crowd and they will get behind Forest, but again it’s down to us. It should be a tough game for them as much as it is for us.”
Albion welcome midfielder Liam Bridcutt back following his Scotland debut against Serbia on Tuesday night, and Oatway has backed the 23-year-old to flourish now he’s a senior international.
“I’m pleased that he got his opportunity because I had no doubts about him. I had lunch – which wasn’t arranged – with Mark McGhee and we had a serious chat about lots of different things, which included Liam.
“He was the one ringing the bell and I’m pleased that they have given him the chance because I haven’t seen too many better at playing that holding role, and that includes in the Premier league.
“I’m sure there are better but the kid is still learning his trade and he’s doing fantastically well, so he deserves his opportunity to play for Scotland.
“I’ve made many jokes about playing for the national side but whatever country you come from, to play for that country in any sport is a massive achievement and football more so than any.
“As a coach you want to know how the player takes it on, because it can be negative with some players who get above their stations and think they have made it, but Liam won’t be one of them. He is a level headed kid and a family man who is very thankful for where he is.
“Gus and Tano brought him here and what he’s achieved after that is fantastic. A lot goes down to the management with that. I’m sure he has many caps to come.”