Former Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Paul Reid has praised the progress that the side has made in their inaugural Premier League season, ahead of this weekend’s eagerly-anticipated game against Crystal Palace.
The Seagulls travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon sitting four points ahead of the Eagles, and Reid, who played twice in the fixture in 2005, highlighted the magnitude of the match against Roy Hodgson’s men.
He said, “It’s obviously a huge game. If you’d told everyone associated with Brighton at the start of the season that they’d be in the position they’re in now, they would have taken it.
“They’ve given themselves a huge opportunity to stay up in the Premier League. That was the club’s main goal at the start of the season.
“If they win that game against Palace, that will give them an excellent chance of staying up.
“With Palace being around them as well, it’s a massive game. There’s obviously a big rivalry between the clubs, and as a player, it’s one of those games that you really look forward to.
“If they get the three points, it takes them to 38 points with five matches left - and although there are some tough games to finish, that would hopefully be enough.
“I’ll be tuning in and hopefully there will be a great result at the end for Brighton supporters.”
The Australian also heaped praise on Albion’s number one - Mathew Ryan - and believes Chris Hughton has reaped the rewards after sticking with the 26-year-old throughout the club’s debut season in the Premier League.
“I played against him over here [in Australia], but he was only young at the time, and I knew the one thing he would get tested on is the physicality of the Premier League and having to be an aerial presence.
“In terms of shot-stopping, passion and willingness to work - he’s the first to put his hand up and want to improve as a goalkeeper. His work ethic was great over here and still is.
“He had a couple of poor mistakes early on, by his standards, but it was great that Chris Hughton showed faith in him.
“He’s been a great acquisition for Brighton - making a couple of penalty saves as well, which are crucial at this stage of the season.
“Since I left, he’s the first Australian to play for Brighton, so it’s always nice to see a fellow countryman doing well at the club."