Albion's manager is delighted with his midfield options.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton is confident his squad has the strength in depth to cope without Beram Kayal, who is ruled out until December following ankle surgery.
Dale Stephens, Oliver Norwood, Rohan Ince and Steve Sidwell are all battling it out for a place in the Albion midfield.
Hughton said, “What I wanted was four players in central midfield that I felt could really compete for places. We had Beram and Dale who played the large majority of last season, but it’s very difficult to do that every season.
“Our thinking with Rohan [Ince], who is a player that we like here and know the role he can do, was to allow him to go out on loan.
“Steve Sidwell was one that fell into our lap in some ways, because we had him at the end of last season, so that was an obvious one for me.
“But Oliver [Norwood] came up, and he’s always been a player I’ve liked, with really good pedigree in this division and at international level.
“So it’s times like this that you’re glad to have this level of competition.”
Albion head into today’s game on a five-match unbeaten run in the league, and the Albion manager has urged his squad to maintain their fine home form.
“When you’re not losing games, there’s no doubt it adds to the squad. There’s a difference between drawing at home and drawing away, because a point away at Ipswich, at any stage, is a good result.
“But what you have to do is supplement that with getting the wins [at home], but it definitely adds to the feeling of the group if you’re not losing games.
“It’s key to get that balance. If I look at Middlesbrough and Burnley from last season, they were two very tough teams to play against.
“Middlesbrough only conceded eight goals at home throughout the whole season, which is an incredible feat.
“One extra win from our draws last season would have got us promotion, so you need to make yourself difficult to beat, but you need the quality to go and win games as well.”
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The Seagulls boss was pleased to see a number of players return from international duty this week, and expressed his delight for Tomer Hemed, who scored three goals in two games for Israel.
“I’m really pleased for Tomer. To be on the back of two international wins and three goals is all you can ask for from a striker.
“In regards to confidence as a striker, that’s what you want to be doing, scoring goals, and particularly if they’re goals that win football matches.”
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