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Inside Albion

17 April 2014


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Albion's win at Leicester City last week means they are unbeaten against the two teams at the top of the Championship, and proves Oscar's theory that his team are capable of beating anyone on their day. The 4-1 win at the King Power Stadium also drew praise from many Foxes fans, who applauded Albion as the best side their team has faced this season. It was Brighton's biggest win on the road since the 4-0 win at Charlton Athletic in 2010, and the best performance away from home since an emphatic 3-0 win at Peterborough United two weeks later. Some might even rank it as better...
 
Just as he did for the trip to Turf Moor, Oscar prepared his side for the trip to face Leicester with a three-day stay at St George's Park. The National Football Centre once again catered for Albion's every need ahead of a crucial match, and this time Brighton's injured players joined the rest of the squad on the Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon. Andrew Crofts, Andrea Orlandi, Will Buckley, Kemy Agustien and Bruno Saltor were also able to utilise the fabulous facilities at the England team's training base and the FA's development centre.

With chaos on the roads ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, Albion chose to fly to their penultimate away fixture of the season at Huddersfield. The Seagulls have endured some gruelling away trips this season and once again the squad have taken to the air to avoid the Easter jams!
England under-21 manager Gareth Southgate was at St George's Park this week, and took time on Monday afternoon for a catch-up with Albion's on-loan Manchester United star Jesse Lingard, who has been part of his national squad this season. The pair chatted at the hotel for a good while, after Lingard had trained with his Seagulls team-mates in the morning.

The annual Young Seagulls Open Day at the American Express Community Stadium once again proved a huge success. Both the men’s first team and the women’s team trained in front of Brighton’s young fans while there were plenty of activities elsewhere too, including a FIFA tournament with Jake Forster-Caskey and Lewis Dunk while supporters had the chance to meet their favourite Albion stars. 


 
Albion's media team were also able to use the three-day stopover as a chance to catch up with Crofts for a special Seagulls Player interview, which will air soon, and begin filming for the club's end-of-season Player Awards night at the Amex, coming up in the final week of the regular season. Meanwhile, photographer Stuart Roy Clarke - best known in football circles for his Homes of Football book and his work exhibited in the National Football Museum - was also able to photograph the team in training for part of a year-long project for the FA. Clarke has been commissioned to document a year in the life of the FA.
 
Mark Clemmit was at the King Power Stadium to join Leicester's promotion party, just as he did at Withdean back in 2011, when Albion beat Dagenham & Redbridge 4-3 on that historic night. A legendary and impromptu celebration followed in a Brighton nightspot, with Clem joining Albion players, management and staff to celebrate. Tuesday night was a much more sombre affair, but Leicester's fans won't really mind. There's still plenty of time to celebrate - and to prepare for next season, when they will be rubbing shoulders with Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.


 
Former Albion colleagues and good friends Ben Roberts and Nathan Jones were in opposite dugouts this weekend. The pair played together at Albion and Yeovil, and both have been on the coaching staff with the Glovers and Charlton Athletic. As well as Jones, the very amiable Roberts – now goalkeeping coach at the Valley – still has many friends at the Albion, and also caught up with a fair few friends from his spell with Albion, which included a clean sheet in the 2004 play-off final – before the pair and their partners went for dinner on Saturday evening.
 
BBC Late Kick Off (London & South East) has already feature Albion once already this season, and they were back at the Amex to cover the Charlton game – featuring two of the teams on their patch. So make sure you find the extended highlights on BBC iPlayer, plus interviews with Oscar Garcia, Nathan Jones and Jesse Lingard.


 
With Oscar Garcia taking advantage of a rare free midweek and flying home to Spain to see family over the remainder of the weekend, post-match media duties fell to his assistant Nathan Jones. Questioned about the pre-match tribute to the 96 Hillsborough victims, Jones said, “It was fitting tribute to a disaster that we hope that we never see again. I remember watching it unfold as a youngster. I had just signed apprentice terms at Cardiff and I remember going home for the weekend and watching it on Grandstand. They were tragic scenes and the thoughts of all those at the club go out to those affected. Our hearts go out to all of those families.”

Finally, they say a week is a long time in politics, and the same can be said in football. Albion-supporting Jon Snow’s cousin Peter is famed for his election-night coverage using the famous swing-o-meter – and it could have been put to good use to demonstrate what a difference a week (well five days actually) has made in the goal difference stakes. Ahead of Tuesday’s game at the King Power Stadium, Albion were nine goals behind the Royals. Two emphatic wins later, along with Reading’s 3-1 reverse at Bournemouth, means that has been cut to one goal.

UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES   

Albion v Blackpool:             
Monday 21st April, kick-off 3.00pm

Albion v Yeovil Town:             
Friday 25th April, kick-off 7.45pm

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