Date: 27th July 2016 at 7:20am
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Manager Chris Hughton declared himself pleased with the double header run outs against Luton Town and Stevenage at the weekend.

Despite a two one and one nil defeat to Luton and Stevenage respectively, Hughton told the Official Site following the full times whistles that he had been very pleased with how the games went, despite the results, and he felt Brighton were in a good place ahead of the coming Championship campaign in under a fortnight.

‘I`m certainly glad of the way we did it because it allowed us to get nearly all of the senior players close to 90 minutes. Results wise it hasn`t been the best, but that`s not the most important thing, even though you don`t want to lose any games. The important thing is we`ve got two games to go and have got a really important day`s work under our belts. In both games we had some good work on the ball, but without threatening enough. That`s probably been lacking. We haven`t got ourselves into enough goalscoring opportunities. Every manager will tell you that you can have good pre-seasons and not so good pre-seasons, but as soon as that whistle goes in the first game, the intensity becomes a bit different. From a fitness point of view, we still have two weeks to go and most of the players have played 90-minute games.’

With Dale Stephens ruled out of the weekend’s action with a knee problem, Hughton could welcome back goalkeeper David Stockdale and Jiri Skalak.

‘Stocko has missed a chunk of pre-season; while from a fitness point of view, Jiri is okay and hasn`t missed a lot of football, but we chose only to give him 45 minutes. Dale should be available for Tuesday. He wanted to play today and it was us who stopped him because we thought we could give him an extra recovery day. We`re just a touch short of where we want to be. We`re certainly in a much better position than we were last season in terms of numbers. We just need to supplement it with one or two.’

Brighton vs Luton:

Maenpaa, Collar, Dunk, Cadman, Bong, Knockart (Hambo 83), Ince, Sidwell (Molumby 68), Skalak (Bjordal 45), Manu (Starkey 72), Murray.

Subs not used:

Vose (GK), Hornby-Forbes, Barnett, Cox.

Loanee Christian Walton was between the sticks for Luton, and Lewis Dunk got our goal in the 43 minute.

Brighton vs Stevenage:

Stockdale (Sanchez 60), Rosenior, Bruno, Hall (Roscoe 72), Hunt (Hutchinson 80), Murphy (Ward 80), Holla (Adekugbe 80), Kayal (Tighe 80), LuaLua (Tilley 80), Baldock (Harper 72), Hemed (Ayunga 88).

With Stockdale making his return for an hour in the second game of the day, he was interviewed after the match and was full of praise for the medical staff and the physios as he has returned ahead of schedule.

‘I was bit rusty yesterday and a bit tentative. I have now only played once, after only training twice with the team on Thursday and Friday. I haven`t done that much and I am ahead of schedule; we pencilled in next Tuesday for me to return but I felt good going into this week. On Thursday I saw the physios, had some good rehab and it was only meant to be half a game against Stevenage, but it felt normal. A total of 60 minutes is good. I had my first operation just days after last season. I went away and there were some complications. I came back from my holiday and a lot of my summer has been spent in a hospital bed, but I have been well looked after over at Eastbourne Hospital. I`ve been a bit down after the season and with things going wrong, but that happens in football. I`ve worked hard to get on the pitch and it was great to be back.’

He was also optimistic about the year ahead, despite the losses.

‘From what I saw at Crawley, we played well and did our job. At Stevenage, we were one click away from getting it right. We had so many chances and they had one chance and took it well. They are looking for the same things that we are in terms of fitness and performances, but we`ve got two games to look forward to now. But our main focus is the first game of season against Derby. I know it`s disappointing for the fans to see us lose two games, but we had mixed teams out there and it`s not as easy as you think. For me it was about getting fitness. If we get the lads` legs right and win at Derby, then I don`t think people will be saying that we lost to Stevenage.’

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