Albion look to forget their mini Amex slump, and continue their fine away form that has seen them win 3 on the trot – as they travel to Pride Park to take on Derby.
Two poor home performances, coinciding with a couple of key injuries, has stalled the Seagulls’ early season momentum somewhat, dropping to 3rd position – and they’ll be hoping to get things back on track this weekend.
Nigel Clough’s Rams are sat smack bang in the middle of the table, as often seems to be the case, having won 3, drawn 3, and lost 3 of their 9 Championship fixtures – that perfect symmetry will be upset one way or other tomorrow afternoon.
Gus Poyet feels Albion must record a win at Pride Park to not render their recent point against Ipswich as a waste of time.
Speaking to seagulls.co.uk, he explained, “It’s another tough game and the point we got against Ipswich on Tuesday will be good enough if we win at Derby. We must make that point count against Derby, with all respect to them.
“From what I have seen Derby look fit and like a team that can play at a high tempo. Teams talk about pressing high and making it difficult for the opposition and they have been doing alright when they go in front, so it will be an interesting game.”
Rams defender Jake Buxton is convinced Derby can match up to their opponents in terms of their passing game, despite heaping the praise on Poyet’s men.
He told the official site, “As a team, they are a good footballing side; they have got a very good squad of players and I think Gus Poyet has done a great job there; he has gone about his business quite quietly and by the sounds of it they deserve to be in the position they are.
“However, we are also starting to be renowned for having a good footballing side ourselves and we also compliment that with our ability to get into teams’ faces and press high up the park.
“We want to go into the international break positioned in the top-half of the table. But to do that we have got to come away from Saturday with a positive result.”
Derby County Team News:
Rams’ top scorer Jamie Ward remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, whilst fellow forward Connor Sammon is pushing for a start.
Theo Robinson looks set to keep his place up-front, however defender Gareth Roberts is a major doubt after sustaining a hamstring injury at Middlesbrough in midweek.
Player to watch: Theo Robinson
The pacy forward is often erratic, regularly going from the shocking to the sublime, but always has the potential to pose a threat at this level with his poaching instincts and darting movement. The ex-Huddersfield frontman has hit 3 goals in all competitions this season.
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Gus Poyet welcomes back right-back Bruno after the Spaniard missed Albion’s last two games with tight groin – he is likely to come back in for the covering Calderon.
Midfielder Andrew Crofts has been rated as 50/50 to make this one, and will undergo a late fitness test, whilst Craig Mackail-Smith remains sidelined.
Vicente and Will Hoskins continue their recovery from inflamed tendon and foot injuries respectively.
Player to watch: Bruno Saltor
Albion have undeniably missed the decisive and penetrating passing of the marauding right-back. As influential going forward as he is at the back, the Spaniard gives great balance to the side with the equally accomplished Wayne Bridge patrolling the flank on the opposite side.
Poyet’s men achieved the double over County last season, with Mackail-Smith scoring the only goal in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Pride Park in November 2011.
It was a more comfortable display of at times champagne football in the Amex fixture, with Vicente rolling back the years and, alongside Kazenga LuaLua, inspiring Albion to a 2-0 win.
Andy Woolmer of Northamptonshire takes charge of this one.