Albion will look to make best use of their game in hand on Tuesday night as they head for Lancashire to play their rearranged game against Blackburn.
A last-gasp error from Tomasz Kuszczak at Birmingham prevented the Seagulls from continuing their winning run in 2013, but they still remain unbeaten in four and in good shape heading into the business end of the season.
Now on their third manager of the campaign, Rovers’ form has picked up slightly since the sacking of Henning Berg – with the Danish flop at the helm for just 10 games. Michael Appleton is the latest man charged with the task of getting the best out of their international-packed squad.
With a number of points dropped from winning positions, first team coach Charlie Oatway has called his players to put games to bed when on top.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “We are playing well but we need to starting putting teams away when we get the opportunity to punish them. If we had done that at Birmingham we would be sitting here with a couple of extra points.
“If we get that early goal and we make a couple more chances, we have to make the most of them, and that isn’t just the centre forwards, that is everyone.
“We need to start burying those chances we get and take a little bit of the pressure off ourselves, unlike what we are doing now where we are missing the opportunities then conceding.”
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Michael Appleton has been handed a boost by the return of David Dunn (calf), alongside fellow midfielders Fabio Nunes and Markus Olsson (both hamstring).
Norwegian striker Joshua King is unlikely to feature, whilst Dickson Etuhu (knee) and Adam Henley (hamstring) both miss out.
Player to watch: Jordan Rhodes
Signed for a staggering fee of £8m from Huddersfield in August, Rhodes has continued his goalscoring exploits by netting 17 goals for his new club already this campaign. Renowned for his aerial threat, along with the ability to finish chances with either foot, the Scotland international will no doubt prove a handful for the Albion back-line.
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Gus Poyet has no new injury worries ahead of the trip to Ewood Park, with Spaniard Vicente chomping at the bit for more action after returning at Birmingham.
Right-back Bruno remains Albion’s only injury absentee, whilst new striker Leonardo Ulloa will be available providing he receives international clearance in time.
Player to watch: David Lopez
Having returned to his preferred right-midfield spot after the recovery from injury of Inigo Calderon, the ex-Bilbao man has showcased his technical qualities in more attacking areas – notching a goal and an assist in his last 2 outings. Lopez will hope to keep contributing to a side who have had little trouble finding the net in recent weeks.
Past Meetings & Stats
Albion edge the overall head-to-head record, with 10 wins to Rovers’ 9, although the two sides have scarcely met in recent years.
In fact, their last league meeting occurred over 20 years ago, in the 1991/92 season – with Blackburn securing a double over the Seagulls with a 3-0 victory, following a 1-0 success in the reverse fixture.