The two managers reflect on Saturday's game.
CHRIS HUGHTON admitted the absence of some of the squad’s key players was felt in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against Preston North End, but made no excuses for their below-par display at Deepdale.
Dale Stephens, Gataen Bong and Lewis Dunk were all missing for Albion’s trip to Lancashire, but Hughton insisted the competition within the squad is good enough to cope with those setbacks.
He said, “That was a blow for us but we have a very good, competitive squad. They’re two players that have played regularly in the team; Dunky [Lewis Dunk] was out suspended and Dale [Stephens] was out ill.
“But I’ll make no excuses for that or the team I put out, because I believe it was a team strong enough of winning. We just weren’t good enough.
“It’s a blow to the consistency of the team because he’s [Dale Stephens] very consistent in his performances, but we have good competition in central midfield.
“Ollie Norwood and Steve Sidwell are two players that have played a lot this season, so I can’t use that as an excuse.”
Canadian full-back Sam Adekugbe made his league debut in the absence of Bong, and Hughton thinks the 21-year-old will benefit from a difficult afternoon in Lancashire.
“He didn’t know he was playing until yesterday [Friday]. It was a tough one for him because he was up against tough opposition, but he’ll certainly learn from it.
“I chose to play him on the strength of his performance at Oxford and the game we had at the Amex where he did very well, so it’s a learning curve for him.”
SIMON GRAYSON was delighted with his team’s organisation and hard work against the Seagulls, and felt they deserved their victory after reaching a high level of performance in recent weeks.
He said, “It had to be a good performance and it certainly was. We knew each individual had to be on their game and make sure that the team did the jobs they’d been asked to do, and they did.
“They were very positive in their approach with the ball and without it. We defended really well and limited some really good players to very few opportunities.
“It was an outstanding result that has probably been coming over the last few weeks. We have been reaching that level of performance without getting the results, so it’s a great result for us.”
Albion’s 2-0 defeat was only the sixth game they’ve failed to score in this season, and Grayson applauded his defenders and goalkeeper for holding onto a clean sheet.
“The team were very good, but when that ball goes into the 18 yard box against [Glenn] Murray, [Sam] Baldock and [Tomer] Hemed, you have to be alert and give them no opportunities.
“Full credit to Tom [Clarke] and Hunts [Paul Huntington], they were on the front foot, aware of things and they deserved that clean sheet.
“I was disappointed that we gave a penalty away, as it was an opportunity to not have that clean sheet, but ultimately Chris [Maxwell] redeemed himself with a great save.”