The high-flying Seagulls go in search of a remarkable 6th successive victory as they host a Birmingham side who are likely to still be a little shell-shocked from their 5-0 home defeat to Barnsley (yes, that did happen) last weekend.
Poyet’s table-toppers return to home comforts after a successful week on the road – recording an M25 double with wins at Watford and Millwall. At the Amex, Albion have tasted defeat just the once in their last 15 Championship outings.
The Blues haven’t enjoyed the finest start under new boss Lee Clark, with his side currently sitting in 19th place following just 2 wins from 7 matches – but the fans and manager alike will no doubt demand a reaction from their recent televised crushing.
Gus Poyet is refusing to read too much into Birmingham’s heavy defeat last weekend, and is instead concerning himself with what Albion have to do.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “It is going to be a very tricky game. We need to respect them knowing the quality they have in their team. They also have experience and strength with players who can do something special, so we need to make sure that we are at our best.
“I cannot base anything on what happened to them on Saturday because that was an accident for them. Birmingham have so many opportunities after what happened and if I think about them too much I will stop focusing on my team. This is an important part of my job as a manager.”
As expected, Lee Clark is hoping to see his players bounce back from Saturday’s defeat, but insists this weekend’s clash was always going to be a difficult test.
He told the official site, “We can’t affect the past and that’s what it is but we can affect the future. Certainly the training on Tuesday and the belief that the lads showed and the spirit was back.
“Whatever the result was against Barnsley, whether we had won, drawn or had that shocking defeat this was always going to be a tough game so we’ve got to make sure we`re right up for it.”
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Craig Mackail-Smith is still sidelined, owing to a hamstring injury that forced an early withdrawal at Millwall – new signing Stephen Dobbie looks set to fill in.
Poyet has Andrew Crofts and back amongst his options, although right-back Bruno misses out.
Attacking duo Vicente and Will Hoskins continue on the road back to full fitness.
Player to watch: Will Buckley
Albion’s standout creative source in their last two outings, the fleet-footed wing wizard has all but nailed down a spot in the starting XI with his recent form. Has a knack for utilising his pace by making great runs in-behind when electing to drift into a more central position.
Birmingham City Team News:
Left-back Paul Robinson is likely to make his debut after joining the Blues on a short-term deal following injuries to defensive trio Stephen Carr, Paul Caddis and David Murphy.
Marlon King and Hayden Mullins are both doubtful through illness and will undergo late fitness tests, whilst Curtis Davies is set to start at centre-back.
Player to watch: Nathan Redmond
One of the most sought-after players outside of the top flight, the England under-19 international is capable of causing problems for any defence at this level with his skill and long-distance shooting ability. Redmond scored in Birmingham’s recent visit to the Amex in April.
The sides played out two fairly low-key draws last season. An uneventful 0-0 at St. Andrews was followed by an end of season 1-1 in the reverse fixture, where Nathan Redmond and Ashley Barnes both netted.