The key talking points from the manager's press conference.
At his pre-match press conference, Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton discussed the goalscoring form of striker Sam Baldock, gave his thoughts on the importance of Newcastle’s visit to the Amex, highlighted Steve Sidwell’s impact in midfield, and looked back on his Championship-winning season with the Magpies.
Baldock’s fine form: “It’s a combination of a few things. He’s playing regularly and is injury-free. Although he missed a few games recently, he’s been relatively injury-free for most of this season.
“Strikers, in particular, have good moments. They go through good phases where things are running for them, and at this moment it’s a good one for him.
“Sam always gives himself the best opportunity as he always works hard for the team and is very much a team player.
“At this moment, other things are also going in his favour and he’s worked very hard for that to happen.”
Importance of the fixture: “The major significance of this game is that it’s the next one. I don’t think Newcastle are under any more pressure than what we are. It’s the pressure that you want at this end of the table.
“They’re an exceptionally good side with exceptional players, hence why they’ve been right at the top end of this division all season and are probably, in most people’s eyes, the favourites to win it.
“There’s no doubt that it’s a big game because of where we are in the division. It’s a very significant fixture but there are a lot of games to play afterwards.
“I would expect the majority of those games to be very difficult ones as well. Newcastle is the next one and that’s how we have to treat it. We’re at home and it’s a game that we want to win.”
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Sidwell’s midfield influence: “He’s been very good for us, but probably more comforting is the competition we’ve got in that position.
“At the moment, he’s been playing ahead of [Beram] Kayal and [Oliver] Norwood, who are both very good players, so it’s great to have that level of competition there.
“Steve’s been very good but probably hasn't given us anything more than what we already knew he can. He doesn’t get phased and he’s a very tough individual.
“He’s somebody that’s got huge experience. What I do have in the five central midfielders, including Richie Towell, is good competition and different types of players in there.”
Comparing achievements: “In any player’s career or manager’s career, you look back on big moments and that was certainly a very big moment for myself [winning the Championship with Newcastle].
“It was my first managerial role, so it was something that was very special for me. But more importantly, it was very special for the football club.
“It’s certainly the highlight. As a manager, you want to be part of winning teams, whether that’s winning leagues, promotion or cups.
“But the achievement here [winning promotion] would be greater, because of where we are as a football club. Newcastle have been an established Premier League club with massive support.
“This is a club that has never been in the Premier League, so as an achievement, it would certainly be greater.”
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