The key talking points from the manager's press conference.
At his pre-match press conference, Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton delivered the team news, his thoughts on the competitiveness of the Championship, highlighted the improvements made by Sheffield Wednesday, and gave an update on the fitness of Richie Towell.
Team news: “We’ll have a clearer picture on Beram [Kayal] within the next few days, but he’ll certainly miss the weekend and I don’t see any way he’ll be going away with Israel.
“When you have Dale [Stephens] and Beram out, who were our mainstays in the team last season, this proves our correct decision to bring in [Steve] Sidwell and [Oliver] Norwood.
“You want competition in that area. It’s difficult for any player to play there week-in-week-out, and it gives me options to change things.
“Ollie Norwood will leave us after the weekend to be involved at international level, and Steve Sidwell has been there and done it [played in the Premier League].
“So they’re two very good players and I have no problems with them playing together.”
Competitiveness of Championship: “You’ve only got to look at the league at the moment, and teams that weren’t in this division a few years ago are fairing very well, such as Bristol City and Barnsley, who have had very good starts.
“That shows the level of competition is higher now. It’s always been a competitive division, but in the past there might have been a group of top teams who found it more comfortable; that isn’t the case now.
"Newcastle have invested incredibly well in their squad, Norwich have the know-how from the last couple of seasons, and have kept the large bulk of their team.
“They’re both capable [of doing well], as they’re two very good teams, but this is a tough division, and I’m sure both their managers would say the same."
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Sheffield Wednesday's progress: “They’re similar to ourselves, in regards to having the large bulk of their squad from last season, and they’ve really developed as a team over the last couple of seasons.
“What they have added, is quality. [Gary] Hooper, who they bought last season, is still there and gives them an opportunity to score goals.
“[Steven] Fletcher is a big signing for them, and they’ve also got [Fernando] Forestieri, who we know can score goals.
“They brought [David] Jones in from Burnley, who’s a very good player at this level and did great there, where he was a mainstay in their team last season.
“So they’ve added well, even though they had a very good squad to begin with.”
Richie Towell update: “He’s back running now, so that’s good news. The type of injury he had was one where he had to not train for a while and let his knee settle down.
“We’re hoping the international break will allow him to integrate with the team, get back into day-to-day training and hopefully return to the squad.
“He’s been out for a long period of time, but Richie is a fit lad. You always get some players who need more games under their belt before they can get back to that level [first team].
“But we’re confident he can do that with training, and I’m sure that will include some under-23 games as well.”
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