Albion will hope to kick-off 2013 on a positive note as they travel to Portman Road to take on a resurgent Ipswich side.
A disappointing home defeat to Watford in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday saw Albion extend their winless run to 5 – meaning they have now won just 3 of their last 17 league outings. The January window could prove crucial to reviving the Seagulls’ play-off push.
Despite a couple of early batterings, Mick McCarthy has taken little time in pulling the Tractor Boys comfortably clear of the relegation zone following his appointment in November. With 2 wins on the trot, and 5 victories in their last 7, Ipswich will want to continue their good run of form.
Albion’s assistant boss Mauricio Taricco is looking to his players to provide that extra bit of quality that has been lacking in recent weeks.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “We are playing good football but we need a little bit more quality to win the games. We’ve got it, but we need to show it. At the moment we aren’t showing the quality to settle games but it’s only a matter of time and we’ll keep plugging away. That’s what you have to do in football.
“It’s disappointing when you come away from games that you could have easily got more points from. I can’t think of many games that we have got points and robbed teams. You can play well and dominate games but to win them is a different matter, you need to show a little bit more quality.
“It is all about consistency, every individual has to show consistency. We are not doing that in key areas at the moment and we need to change that in order to go on to better things.”
Ipswich Town Team News:
No fresh injury concerns for McCarthy, meaning he may start the same XI for the sixth game in a row.
Striker Michael Chopra, who netted twice against the Albion last season, is pushing for a start after coming off the bench in their last outing.
Player to watch: DJ Campbell
Nearly at the end of his three month loan from QPR, the nippy forward has rediscovered the form he showed in a Blackpool shirt – as he relishes the first team football on offer at Ipswich. With 10 goals in just 16 appearances for McCarthy’s men, Campbell is bound to have many a potential suitor come the January window.
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Will Buckley (hamstring) remains a major doubt after missing Saturday’s defeat against Watford, so Kazenga LuaLua looks to retain his starting berth on the wing.
Andrea Orlandi and Bruno look set to start once again as they re-gain their match fitness. Otherwise, Poyet has no new injury worries.
Player to watch: Kazenga LuaLua
The Congolese winger is starting to make an impact in the first team again after fleeting appearances earlier in the campaign. With fellow wideman and regular flank-hugger Will Buckley injured, LuaLua’s pace and direct running will be vital to Albion’s chances of picking up a result in this one.
Both sides were victorious in their respective home fixtures last season; Ipswich emerged 3-1 winners at Portman Road, with Albion returning the compliment with a 3-0 win in February.