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O'REILLY'S INITIAL GOALSCORING CONCERNS EASED BY ALBION

24 March 2018

The Argus
Gary O'Reilly playing for Albion at the Goldstone Ground.

Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Gary O’Reilly admitted his early concerns that Chris Hughton’s team would struggle for goals in the Premier League have well and truly been alleviated.

The 57-year-old has been impressed with Albion’s attacking play after finding their feet in the Premier League, and believes Hughton’s shrewd transfer dealings have come good throughout the season.

He said, “My concern, particularly in the early part of the season, was the team’s ability to find the back of the net, regularly and from different sources.

“But you look around the team now - Glenn Murray has proven to be what we always knew he was, an intelligent goalscorer and a player that can do an awful lot more than just goals.

“You’ve got players around him now and a midfield that was reenergised by Chris over the summer. It took a little bit of time to come through, but it’s now proven.”

As well as Murray, O’Reilly commented on a handful of other faces in Albion’s squad this season, and believes Lewis Dunk and Dale Stephens have adapted well to the standard of Premier League football.

“[Jose] Izquierdo can be the scorer of the spectacular, which when you do that, defenders are mindful and have to readjust their game.

“That then creates another problem for them, because they’re not closing him down. Albion have then got other players who can cause opponents problems.

“I always felt Dale Stephens would rise to the level of the Premier League quite comfortably, and I’ve been proven right.

“From my own position as a central defender, Lewis Dunk has grown into the role. We all make mistakes, so don’t be surprised if he makes some more, but he’s been exceptional.”

The Seagulls welcome Leicester City and Huddersfield Town to the Amex Stadium before visiting Selhurst Park midway through April, and O’Reilly, who played for both clubs, believes Crystal Palace will be desperate to secure victory.

“You’ve got to play them at least two times in a season. They're in a situation where they’ll need every single point that is on offer.

“They’ll be a tough opponent for Brighton, because they’ll be desperate to beat Brighton, not just because it’s Palace v Brighton, but because they’re looking at their own survival.

“There’s a lot of respect for Glenn at Selhurst Park, because he did a good job there for Palace. Hopefully that will be shown to him, but you never know how fans will react on the day.”

The defender gave one last reflection on Albion’s debut season in the Premier League, as Chris Hughton’s team head into their final eight matches of the campaign.

“Chris won’t thank me for making a prediction, so rather than tempt any fate, I’ll say that what I’ve seen so far has been really outstanding and encouraging."


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