CHRIS HUGHTON is hoping for a significant fitness boost this week ahead of Saturday's visit of Birmingham City to the Amex.
Hughton was without seven of his squad for yesterday's trip to Burnley - with Gaetan Bong, Sam Baldock, Kazenga LuaLua, Inigo Calderon, Rohan Ince, Andrew Crofts and Uwe Huenemeier all absent - but he is hopeful of having up to five of those players available this weekend.
He said, "It was a tough week. We lost four players last week in the build up to Burnley, but thankfully they were all very minor injuries. We’re confident they’ll all be back next week, it was just a little bit of a freak week.
"Calde was an illness, so he’ll be fine. Crofty felt his hamstring ever so slightly, so from where he has been we couldn’t take a chance. Rohan had a groin problem. Uwe felt his ankle yesterday, but they were all very minor.
"I was delighted to be able to bring Bobby Zamora and Gordon Greer back into the team at Burnley; but Sam Baldock being out for a short period of time is a blow."
Hughton also has LuaLua nearing a return to fitness and says his focus over the coming days is to ensure he has enough to get through to the January window, with the loan deadline this Thursday.
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SEAN DYCHE felt that Burnley shaded yesterday’s match with Brighton & Hove Albion and looked the more likely of the two sides to claim all three points.
He told burnleyfootballclub.com, “Chances wise, we definitely edged it, but I thought it was a good game between two very good sides.
“On the feel of the game it was always looking like a close one and they got a fortuitous start, with the ball bouncing around our box and landing at their feet for them to score.
“It was a great immediate response though, with a definite penalty and I’m pleased with that because we’ve not had many given this season.
“I found it impossible that their two centre halves weren’t in trouble earlier in the game for pulling Andre Gray’s shirt.
“But I don’t want to overthink that and I thought it was an excellent decision for the penalty.
“We then created enough chances to win the game, but in the end we have to be realistic with the challenge.
“Brighton are a good side and so are we and we have done enough to edge the game today and that’s what you have to do, but we go away with another positive feeling within ourselves and we’ll go again next week.”
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