Brighton and Hove Albion forward Sam Baldock is happy to be back in the team after featuring in Albion’s Emirates FA Cup tie against Hull City yesterday.
After a frustrating spell on the sidelines, the striker remains optimistic following the 1-0 defeat to the Tigers and hopes his return can push the club forward in the second half of the season.
He said, “I have been out for over eight weeks, but it’s felt a lot longer. It was just pleasing to get the call and get as many minutes under my belt as I could.
“I’ve been close to returning for a while now and I’ve got two good weeks of training under my belt, so that was one thing the manager was keen on.
“I can go into games now knowing that I’m fully fit and have the confidence to play my natural game.
“It’s been horrible being at every home game and listening to every away game knowing that there’s nothing I can do to influence it.
“I’ve just got to be one of the experienced voices in the dressing room and described myself as head cheerleader over the past couple of months.
“I am back now and hope to remain fit for a very important second half of the season”.
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Despite seven changes being made to the side that played Wolves on New Year’s Day, Baldock praised Hull's quality, which he felt was the main factor behind the result.
“They were very good, kept the ball for the majority of the game and have got a very strong squad.
“We made a few changes, which gave some people the chance to come in and prove that they’re worthy of a league place.
"But we give a lot of credit to Hull because they were very strong.
Baldock wasn’t the only returning player to the sqaud, as Kazenga LuaLua also came on as a second-half substitute. The striker is now optimistic that the team's results will improve, as Chris Hughton's men turn their focus back to a push for promotion.
“We’re strictly focussing on ourselves now and if we can go into every game believing we can win and aim to pick three points, then we’ll have a big chance at the end of the season.
“Bringing Kazenga and myself back into the equation can hopefully bring goals. Richie [Towell] has come in from Ireland and has a great pedigree of scoring over there, so we’re confident that given the chances, we can put them away.
“We can give everything to the league and we can fully concentrate on that now.
“We’ve put ourselves in a strong position, played everyone in the league and shown what we can do. There’s no reason why we can’t replicate or even improve on that in the second half of the season”.