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SIDWELL HIGHLIGHTS VITAL OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD

7 February 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Albion midfielder Steve Sidwell.

Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Steve Sidwell admitted the team’s immediate fixtures hold extra importance considering the tough run of games that Chris Hughton’s side face throughout March.

The Seagulls travel to Sidwell’s former side, Stoke City, on Saturday afternoon, and the 35-year-old highlighted Albion’s chances of making life easier for themselves, by picking up positive results in their following matches.

He said, "We need to pick up points now really, when you look at these next few games, otherwise it is going to be even harder - we need to realise that.

“Throughout the season we knew there were going to be dips and it would be a struggle for us.

"If we had been around this position all season it wouldn't have been any different. We went up to eighth and we could have been a bit of a victim of our own success.

"Now we are in it. There are a lot of other teams amongst it and we've got to give it our all."

There’s a new man in the Stoke City dugout compared to Albion’s last meeting against the Potters, and Sidwell believes Paul Lambert has had a positive impact at the club since arriving.

“Under Mark Hughes you still had the same manager, the same mentality, the same ethos.

"For some reason it just wasn't working out on the pitch. A change was made and, as always seems to happen, the team picks up.”

"He [Lambert] has even come out and said he knows he wasn't first, fourth, fifth, tenth choice.

“He’s got himself in the hotseat and if he does well, who knows what will happen? The lads have responded. He's been well liked around the place. He's put a spring in their step.

"If we thought it was going to be tough without that happening, it's going to be even tougher now."
 
The Albion midfielder has yet to appear for the Seagulls this season, after injuries to his back and ankle, and despite only being able to watch from the sidelines, he believes his experience can still help the team.

"In terms of being around the lads, I’ve still got a massive part to play. I said that to the gaffer the other day.

“We had a meeting and I just said 'If you need me for anything, speaking to anyone, being around the place, coming to away games, then I'm here’.

"I can't play my part on the pitch, but I'll do as much as I can off it."


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