Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton is delighted that his players are showing real determination to fight for a starting place going into the season opener with Nottingham Forest tonight, 7.45pm kick-off.
Hughton says that all of his players are eager to prove themselves ahead of a hectic start to the new season.
He said, “There is very good competition in the squad and every player relishes the chance to prove that they are the one in form or that they are the better player.
“They are all convincing me that that they are the ones that should be in the team. If we are in that position, then it’s a healthy way to be and it gives us options.
“It’s a long hard season, it’s not just about tonight, we have a very tough run of games to start with and if anything, over the campaign it gets tougher. What we want is real competition for places and really good options.”
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The Albion boss stressed how vital it is to start the season in good form and hopes that a productive pre-season will reap dividends ahead of another long campaign.
“The most important thing is where you finish in the table at the end of the season, but everyone wants to start well.
“We know by looking at the top of the Championship last season how many times the teams change places, as it is very difficult to be consistent right the way through the season.
“It’s a tough start for us, but one that we can look forward to. We have to work as hard as we can to bring additions to the squad over the next couple of weeks, and make sure we’re ready for a very tough campaign.”
“We’ve had a six-week pre-season where the players have worked very hard. We’ve been fortunate in that period; we’ve had a few knocks and strains which is normal, but for the large part we’ve been injury-free.
“It’s going to be a fairly hectic start over these next few weeks and it won’t just be about Friday, it will be about the series of games that we have coming up.”
Hughton is pleased to have bolstered his forward ranks over the summer, with the likes of Bobby Zamora and Tomer Hemed arriving at the club and now he wants his team to be more clinical going into the new season.
“We certainly would like to add to our offensive options and I think what we have so far gives us a bit of scope in how we play, whether that’s 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 or 4-3-3.
“It certainly gives us options and ultimately the offensive options are what we want to improve because we want to be scoring more goals than we did last season.”