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HUGHTON CONFIDENT WITH DEFENSIVE OPTIONS

7 March 2017

Albion's manager says his squad can cope with the current spate of defensive injuries.


Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton believes the squad has the strength in depth to deal with defensive injuries, and highlighted the experience and versatility available across the backline.

Gataen Bong, Sebastien Pocognoli and Shane Duffy are all unavailable for this evening’s game against Rotherham United, but Hughton showed his confidence in dealing with their absences.

He said: “It’s not just the centre-half positions that you’re going to get injuries. We’ve had to occasionally break up relationships all over the pitch because of form and injury.

“Duffy and Dunk have played the large majority of the season together, so yes it’s a blow to miss him, but that’s why you have the squad that you have.

“Dunky’s a big player for us and always has been. Maybe it’s one where he takes on more responsibility now, as the constant member of the team.

“But Uwe Huenemeier is an experienced player, Bruno started the season in that centre-half position and [Fikayo] Tomori can play there as well, so we’ve certainly got options.”

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The Seagulls will be looking to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats against Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest, and Hughton challenged his players to take responsibility and react.

“These things happen in football and certainly if I looked at losing Saturday’s game [v Nottingham Forest], it’s one refereeing decision, but it was more down to ourselves.

“The players know that. You’re going to have good and bad moments throughout a season, and Saturday was a bad moment for us.

“But the good thing about this game is that we can ask for a reaction, and certainly with this group, on most occasions, we’ve had that reaction.

“That’s the nature of the game, you can’t be good all of the time. But when you’re not so good, you always get an opportunity to turn things around again.”

Albion are six points clear of Huddersfield Town and occupy second position in the Sky Bet Championship with 11 games remaining, but Hughton is unaware of how many points his team will require to seal automatic promotion.

“I’ve been asked that question a few times and it’s not one I’m dodging, but I really don’t know [how many points needed for promotion]. The league can be very unpredictable and it’s full of surprises.

“From last season, we know that 89 points would have seen us promoted in the top two positions on most occasions.

“The simple answer is that I really don’t know, and sometimes that’s the best approach. It has to be on a game-by-game basis, about winning as many games as you can and getting more points than the teams below.”

UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES

ALBION V DERBY COUNTY

FRIDAY 10TH MARCH, KICK-OFF 7.45PM


ALBION V BLACKBURN ROVERS

SATURDAY 1ST APRIL, KICK-OFF 3PM



ALBION V BIRMINGHAM CITY

TUESDAY 4TH APRIL, KICK-OFF 7.45PM


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