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HUGHTON ON YOUNG GUNS' IMPACT

29 July 2015



Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton was delighted with the impact of the club's younger players, as he saw his side come from behind to win 2-1 at Gillingham in their penultimate warm-up game ahead of the season opener in nine days' time.

Hughton rested a number of senior first-team players – including David Stockdale, Bruno Saltor, Lewis Dunk, Beram Kayal, Tomer Hemed and Kazenga LuaLua – but Jake Forster-Caskey, Gordon Greer and Dale Stephens all returned to action. 

"It was another good test for us. Gillingham showed a lot of energy and we knew that they would give us that. They are a young side, with young legs and very enthusiastic – but I felt we started the game very well.

"The first 15 or 20 minutes we were quite promising and got the ball into good areas, but then we needed to match Gillingham's work rate. We died away a little bit in the second part of the first half."

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Albion fell behind early in the second half, as Bradley Dack gave the Gills the lead – but Stephens and substitute Chike Kandi, finishing off a slick passing move, turned the game around.

"We knew we needed to be better in the second half, and the injection of the young lads really gave us some energy. I was really delighted with our second goal. It was a well worked goal and overall a good work out for us.

"The major plusses were that Jake Forster-Caskey, Gordon Greer and Dale Stephens all got another sixty minutes under their belts."



Hughton was also impressed by goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa, who played his first full game, and made some impressive saves during the first half.

"He did very well. He's an experienced keeper and very vocal. He was really good, particularly in the second half, when we had a young group of players playing.

"They needed some experience behind them and he's got a really good voice. We brought him in to make sure we are competitive, and we need to make sure he stays that way."

Hughton has one final friendly match ahead of the season opener against Nottingham Forest a week on Friday – and he expects it to be a step up in class.

"I would have liked more goals. By the time the first game comes everybody will be up for it. Results in pre-season generally don't have a bearing on the start of your season.

"We need to make sure we are as injury free as we can be, and we've done all the preparation we can – and certainly the Sevilla game will be the biggest and best test we've had."

Andrew Crofts, Solly March and Sam Baldock all missed it out; Crofts is in line for his return in tomorrow's under-21 friendly against the Nike Academy, while Baldock and March could play some part this Sunday at the Amex.

UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES

ALBION V SEVILLA

SUNDAY 2ND AUGUST, KICK-OFF 4PM


ALBION V NOTTINGHAM FOREST

FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST, KICK-OFF 7.45PM



ALBION V BLACKBURN ROVERS

SATURDAY 22ND AUGUST, KICK-OFF 3PM




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