At Chris Hughton’s pre-match press conference, the Brighton & Hove Albion manager spoke about Gaetan Bong's injury, delivered the latest team news, commented on Reading’s qualities and on the overall strength of the Championship.
Gaetan Bong's injury: “I am very disappointed for him; he has had an excellent season for us and has a very strong character and personality.
“He has always been present in that left-back position. We thought long and hard about that position over the summer and we were delighted to be able to bring in Gaetan Bong. He is going to be out for 12 weeks, but I am very sure he is going to come back as good as ever.”
“We have some good experience in the squad and Liam Rosenior and Inigo Calderon are both very capable of playing in that position.”
Team News: “We will assess both Gordon Greer and Dale Stephens on Friday and hopefully they’ll both have a chance of featuring this Saturday.
"Their training has been fairly sporadic when it comes to the work they have been able to do.”
“Kazenga LuaLua will miss out, but we are reasonably comfortable with where he is at this moment and we just feel that he needs a little bit more time.”
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The threat from Reading: “It will be a tough game; we are very respectful of them and they have a good side that can score goals.
“They have good rhythm, but recently lost at Fulham. That is probably their only blip in their recent run.
“They have bought very well in the summer, are very strong in their offensive options and are a very decent team."
Jake Forster-Caskey’s return from MK Dons: “It was an ideal loan spell, because sometimes a player will go out on loan and play in some of the games, but what you’ve got with Jake is a player that’s stayed at this level and played in every game.”
“He has come back in really good shape and gives me another good option.
“Whether he comes off the bench or starts a game, you know that Jake is at the level required to play at this club.”
The tightness of the Championship: “The League Cup results aren’t an ideal reflection when comparing the quality in the Championship to the Premier League. This is because there are changes to the team in that competition.
“The Championship itself has got better from top to bottom and it’s now much closer. Our last two games were against Bristol City and Preston; they are both teams that are in the lower half of the division, but you wouldn’t think so because of the quality in their teams.
"Bristol City got another good result away at Cardiff and Preston are on a good run as well, so I just think it's getting tighter from top to bottom.”
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