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HUGHTON: CHAMPIONSHIP BECOMING TOUGHER

22 October 2016

The Albion manager feels the task of gaining promotion is even more difficult.


Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton believes the task of winning promotion to the Premier League is becoming harder each year, with the number of clubs yo-yoing between the country’s top two divisions.

The Albion manager listed a number of clubs that have bounced between the two leagues, making the competition within the Championship even tougher.

He said, “Norwich have done it in recent seasons, Hull have also done it too. Burnley went down and went straight back up again, and before that West Brom were the ones.
 
“Teams are coming down and making sure they keep hold of their best players, and also making sure their squads are good enough to go straight back up again.
 
“So there’s definitely an urgency for clubs to do it sooner rather than later [win promotion to the Premier League].”
 
The Seagulls boss also praised David Stockdale’s recent performances, and believes the shot-stopper is just as good with the ball on the ground.
 
“At our level, he’s very good with his feet. But I think there’s two parts to that; one is the distribution with your feet, and also how good you are on the ball.
 
“There are circumstances where the ball is played back to you, and if you’re being closed down, you need to be comfortable enough to deal with it.
 
“There’s a lot of good kickers, but how comfortable are they on the ball? Stocko would certainly be right up there in that aspect.
 
“However, the most important thing is what he does between the posts and with his hands. But I think the modern day goalkeeper is generally better with his feet than those in the past.”

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The Albion manager spoke about Gaetan Bong’s progress ahead of his return to the DW Stadium, with the Cameroon international featuring for the Latics in the last meeting between the clubs in Lancashire.
 
“We were conscious of his situation then, and when we played there, we knew he’d only signed a deal until the end of the season.
 
“It gave us an opportunity to see him first-hand, but we were already watching him at that stage anyway.
 
“For us, we’ve seen value in him; he was excellent the other night [v Wolves] and has also given us assists for goals this season, which is a good attribute to have as a full-back.
 
“He’s been a really steady campaigner; he went through a couple of games where he wasn’t at his best levels, but he’s managed to get right back there again.”

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