Albion are out to avenge the side that took 4 points from them last season as they travel to arch-rivals Crystal Palace in an eagerly-anticipated tie at Selhurst Park.
Poyet’s men extended their unbeaten run to 7 games with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Bristol City in midweek, ensuring they remain on the periphery of the play-offs. A win here will likely see the Seagulls breach that dotted line, as well as close the gap on Saturday’s opponents to a mere 3 points.
Holloway’s high-flying Eagles have enjoyed a superb start to the campaign – thanks to a run of form that has seen them lose just once in their last 14 outings. Palace were positioned at the summit of the Championship for a number of weeks before a recent slip up at Leeds and then a draw at Hull has seen them drop to 2nd.
Can Albion help to give an extra nudge down that slide, or will the Eagles’ scintillating home form see them prevail?
Gus Poyet says he should have no trouble motivating the players for a derby game such as this.
Speaking to seagulls.co.uk, he explained, “I always approach these games with one view in mind and that is that there is only one good result for us. That’s winning. It’s very simple.
“Any other result depends on the game, depends on decisions and depends whether the game is 11 versus 11, or the referee makes a big decision.
“No matter where you play, you have got to go into a derby game focusing on the win. That is our mentality and I expect that Crystal Palace are the same. There are two teams trying to win a big game for their fans.
“There is no need for motivation, but the new players might not know what to expect. If you haven’t played in a game like this you don’t know so it’s sometimes good to remind them how important it is for everyone associated with Brighton.”
Crystal Palace Team News:
Glenn Murray returns from a one-match suspension and will no doubt spearhead the side against his former employees.
Holloway also has defender Darcy Blake (illness) back amongst his options, however Brazilian playmaker Andrea Moritz is a major doubt with a dead leg.
Player to watch: Wilfried Zaha
If you haven’t heard this chap’s name mentioned at some point over the last few months then you must’ve been hidden away in some sort of sound-proof cave. Lucky you. Now a full England international, Zaha’s dazzling wing play has earned major plaudits nationwide. The clear danger man.
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Albion could be boosted by the return of Wayne Bridge, with the City loanee having missed their last 3 outings. Fellow full-back Bruno also looks to have recovered from a bruised rib.
Vicente remains sidelined with a tendon injury, otherwise Poyet has no fresh injury concerns ahead of this huge clash.
Player to watch: Will Buckley
Another of the Championship’s stand out performers so far this campaign, Buckley’s pace and penetration on the flanks has been key to the Seagulls’ high chance-creation rate. Also boasting a cool head in-front of goal, with 5 goals already this term, Buckley has often delivered on the big occasions – let’s hope this is no different.
Albion managed just a point from the two meetings with Palace last season. During a night to forget at the Amex, the hosts led for most the match until a late and inexplicable capitulation saw them ship 3 goals in 10 minutes, with former Seagull Glenn Murray rounding off the come-back.
An even but highly competitive affair was played out in the reverse fixture, where two penalties saw the result finish 1-1.