Albion will look to capitalise on promotion rivals slipping up and consolidate their top six spot as they return to fortress Amex to take on mid-table Charlton.
A late Casper Ankergren blunder saw the Seagulls squander 3 points at play-off rivals Forest on Saturday, but the picture remains very much rosy for Poyet’s men as they go into a key double header at the Amex – including another 6 pointer against faltering Leicester.
Chris Powell’s Addicks, whilst not yet safe from the threat of relegation, have been the marginally more consistent of the newly-promoted sides this campaign. On their travels, especially, they’ve upset many a side, with only the top 3 teams having won more games away from home. A test is no doubt in store, here.
Assistant boss Mauricio Taricco has highlighted the players’ mentality as being vital to building on their return to the top six.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “We need to be a little bit stronger mentally, to impose our game even more than we are doing, and that will come.
“It’s about knowing your game, imposing it and if you are not on form, it’s about adapting and showing you can fight for it. That’s why football is a mixture of things.
“When you are dominating you don’t need to be as aggressive but when you’re not dominating you need to be a little more aggressive than normal to change things around and to get things going your way.
“It’s information we put to the players and hopefully they will pick it up, then in time they will do it themselves. When they are on the pitch they need to make the decisions. We can only help them out during the week, before the game, after the game and during half-time.
“We can shout a bit during the game but they need to know that there are moments when they need to react. They need to learn to deal with situations and be cool.
“We are in a good position and we need to look at beating Charlton. If we do that we will be in an even better position but in the Championship you never know. We will have to see if we can all cope with the pressure that comes with being in the play-off positions.”
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Gus Poyet is handed an almighty boost ahead of this one, with regular no.1 Tomasz Kuszczak and midfield staple Liam Bridcutt both confirmed to be fit after missing out against Forest through illness.
Adam El-Abd is available once again after serving his 2-match suspension for 10 yellow cards, however Ashley Barnes still has 4 games left to serve before he completes his lengthy ban.
Player to watch: Leonardo Ulloa
Having notched his 9th goal in 12 games since arriving in January, the big Argentinian has quickly established himself as a fan favourite on the south coast. Offering the sort of aerial threat that had been absent since the departure of you know who, Ulloa has been a revelation in Poyet’s system, providing a real potent force up-front.
Charlton Athletic Team News:
Defender Matt Taylor and midfielder Dale Stephens will undergo a late fitness test after a virus kept the pair out of Charlton’s 3-2 victory over Bolton on Saturday.
Striker Ricardo Fuller is set to return after suffering a briefly dislocated shoulder, whilst Swansea loanee Mark Gower is pushing for a starting berth.
Player to watch: Johnnie Jackson
With 9 goals to his name this season, the Addicks skipper has continued to prove a reliable source of goals from midfield. A set-piece specialist who rarely misses from the spot, versatile left-footer Jackson often takes up positions on the left of a midfield four, where he can swing in accurate and dangerous deliveries to the likes of Yann Kermorgant and Ricardo Fuller.
Past Meetings & Stats
A late Kazenga LuaLua free-kick helped the Seagulls to salvage a 2-2 draw in this season’s reverse fixture at the Valley, as the two sides fought out an entertaining contest.
Whilst the Albion boast an impressive recent record on South London territory, Charlton have likewise enjoyed their recent visits to Sussex – winning 2 and drawing 1 of the last meetings.