Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton recognises how vital points away from home could be to his side come the end of the Premier League season.
The Seagulls travel to face Leicester City this evening looking to register a first league win of 2019; and given Albion’s good home form, Hughton knows that returns on the road could be pivotal between now and May.
He said, “To get some more points away from home would help us out massively between now and the end of the season.
“That begins against Leicester City [tonight] – it’s the first chance from now until the end of the season to get a return and we have to do our best at every opportunity to make that happen.
“It’s going to be a very competitive group of sides, we need to use every possibility and opening we can. I’m realistic, we need points and it doesn’t matter how you get them. The reason we’re still positive is because the level of performance hasn’t been bad enough for real concern.”
The side were without a game in the top flight over the weekend, owing to Chelsea’s involvement in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, and the boss reflected on the games in hand his team would have over the sides around them, as well as the importance of staying in the Premier League.
“It’s about the scenarios around the time, with regards to games in hand. If results have gone our way then perhaps you look at it differently.
“I’ve always said our priority is to stay in this division, that hasn’t changed. We need to be in this league next season.
“So much hard work went into getting the club here - that happened over a number of years, and even before I got here four years ago, the club had missed out narrowly in the play-offs.
“There’s been an incredible amount of hard work to get to this level. If you look at the league below, and even the third tier, you have teams in those divisions who have been regular and consistent Premier League teams and there’s no guarantee you’ll come back up.
“Burnley did it with the same manager and largely the same group of players, but there’s no guarantee that will happen – it’s important, given the effort to get here.”
The break from action was used as an opportunity for warm-weather training, and the manager provided an injury update after the time away, ahead of tonight’s game against the Foxes.
“Not everybody came away with us to the training camp, we left some here.
“Both Glenn [Murray] and Jurgen [Locadia] need to get through Monday’s session. Jose [Izquierdo] is fit and back in training, whether he’s fit to play a role on Tuesday night is a decision we’ll have to make today [Monday].
“What he has done is trained for a period of time, and we’ve been able to play some bigger-sided games while we’ve been away – for us it’s about how to get him back in. He’s one of a number of players we have to make a decision on.”