In yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton delivered the team news, assessed the threat posed by Birmingham City, spoke about Bobby Zamora’s form and the praise from outside the club.
Team News: “Gaetan [Bong] and Sam Baldock are both making good progress, but they are still some way from returning. Andrew Crofts is close and the likelihood is that we’ll give him a longer period to recover.
“Kazenga [LuaLua] is in a similar position, but we need to give him a bit longer to make sure that he’s right. Calde [Inigo Calderon] trained this week after an illness last week.
“Uwe [Huenemeier] will be fine and at this moment, we’re expecting Rohan Ince to train before the game and he should be fine too.”
Threat from Birmingham: "They have characteristics that are similar to ours; they have a very good team unit and also some quality players, especially on the flanks with Demari Gray.
"He is a very good young player with high interest in him. They have got some pacey attackers and they are also very well organised.
"I don’t think they will change the way they play too much, it will be a blow for them missing Clayton Donaldson because he is a consistent performer. They won’t change the way they set-up because Donaldson is missing."
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Bobby Zamora's progress: "He was very good on Sunday, away from home at a very tough place; he has certainly put himself in contention to start, and we knew he would take time to get fit because he didn’t have much of a pre-season.
“Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed had built a good partnership, but with Sam injured, it makes it easier for Bobby to start. We need to make sure we do the right thing with Bobby’s fitness and that we’re able to continue having him involved in games. He is certainly able to start games but it’s just trying to make sure we have him for the long haul.
“He has certainly changed his game over the years; we all know he used to be a runner, but he has now changed into a player that can hold up the play. He’s very physical and also very clinical.
“If we look at his three goals so far this season, they have all come from six chances in total. He has shown that his quality and style of play is vital for us."
Praise for Albion’s start to the season: "You can use praise to your advantage, but you need to make sure your mind-set is right and you don’t take your foot off the pedal. We are a good side, the pressure that comes with it is the pressure that you want.
"We have had a good period of being top of the division and we would prefer the pressure of where we are in the league and individuals praising us, rather than the pressure of being at the other end of the table."