At his pre-match press conference, Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton delivered the team news ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Amex, spoke about the importance of remaining grounded after last week’s 3-0 away win, assessed Southampton’s attacking strengths, and praised Mathew Ryan for his recent form.
Team News: “The only injury at this moment is Steve Sidwell - it will still be a while but he’s making good progress. Apart from him, everyone else is fit and available, which is very good news.
“Both of them [Sam Baldock and Beram Kayal] have played in the last two under-23 games, but they wouldn’t have had the training and build-up that the others have had. They looked good in the games and have worked very hard on their rehab programmes.
“It’s a big boost [Tomer Hemed’s return], he was in very good form before the ban, so it’s great to have him back.”
“We also have Izzy Brown who can play up front, but his best position, at this moment, would be just off the striker.”
Staying focused: “There’s always that danger [of over-confidence], but it’s my responsibility, and the responsibility of the people around me, to make sure we’re level-headed going into every game.
“What we’ve learned so far in this division, is that if your level of performance is like it was at West Ham last Friday, you have every chance of winning a game.
“But if they had scored early in the game, then it could have been completely different. I know the teams were completely changed, but we saw in West Ham’s midweek game [v Tottenham], it looked over and, of course, it wasn’t.
“It’s my responsibility to make sure we’re grounded and going into every game knowing that we have to work very hard to get a result.”
Southampton test: “We’ll have to be very good at both ends, because they’re a very good side on the ball. They have a lot of ability and play in a certain way - I don’t think they’ll change their expansive style.
“In their last game, they played with two very good players up front [Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini]. We’ll be very conscious that we have to defend well, because they’re very good offensively.
“If we want to win the game, then the onus is on us to put pressure on them and allow ourselves opportunities to score goals.
“Southampton are a wonderfully-gifted team, and that makes it a very dangerous game.”
Ryan’s fine form: “After the Atletico Madrid game and maybe the first game of the season, where he arguably would have been disappointed with one of the goals, he’s been excellent for us.
“He knows the reason why we brought him in, because of what we’d seen him do over the last few seasons and how we liked that.
“Going back to the Everton game - where we were really disappointed to concede the goal when we did - without a couple of very good saves, it’s a game we could have lost.
“There can’t be anything better for a goalkeeper than to be on the back of a clean sheet, so I’m really delighted for him.”