Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton takes his side to the capital and familiar surroundings this evening at the London Stadium.
The Seagulls take on West Ham United looking to build on four points from their last two matches on home soil, and they do so in close proximity to the boss’s upbringing.
He said, “This game holds some fond memories for me in a way because it’s one that’s close to where I grew up.
“I spent nearly all my career at Tottenham Hotspur, but I was born down the road from the new stadium in Forest Gate – that’s about a mile down the road from Stratford and my parents still live very close to the old stadium which was Upton Park.
“It’s the area I spent the first 20 years of my life, so it does have that extra feeling because of where it is – but it doesn’t change the fact it’s no different to any other away game that we want to win in this division.”
Tonight’s opposition moved from Upton Park to take up their new home at the start of the 2016/17 season, and Hughton believes the Hammers are now starting to acclimatise to their new surroundings.
“I think they’re certainly starting to see the benefits of moving to the new stadium – after a bit of a difficult time initially when they moved the team are now doing far better in front for the home fans.
“When you move stadium there’s always going to be some people who want to resist it – that’s normal, but I think the move seems to be a lot better now and some of the initial problems are being ironed out.
“I know the stadium capacity has also been increased to over 60,000 people – that’s an incredible one to call your home ground and that means the group of supporters are now all able to watch the matches, and that can only be a good thing for them.”
A brace from Glenn Murray and a Jose Izquierdo stunner gave Albion three points when the sides last met at this evening’s venue in October 20-17 – it was also the club’s first ever Premier League victory away from home, and the manager reflected on the landmark night.
“The game last year against them is an obvious stand out one, it was an emphatic win where everything seemed to go right for us on the night.
“Our two central defenders had to defend really well and deal with lots of crosses – we scored at the right times and it was a very good evening.
“It was a memorable one, but West Ham have certainly come on since then and it will be more difficult this time around. We want it be right in the game against a very good side, they’re the home side and we’ll have to make sure we begin the match in the right way.”