The Brighton Argus reporter speaks to bwfc.co.uk to preview the weekend's game at The Amex Stadium
Andy Naylor of The Brighton Argus offers insight on what Bolton Wanderers fans can expect from Brighton & Hove Albion at The Amex Stadium this weekend.
bwfc.co.uk: How would you sum up Brighton’s season so far?
AN: I think it is fair to say they are overachieving considering where they are in the table at moment. They finished 20th last season and had another high turnover of players in summer, with Chris Hughton revamping squad. That group has gelled together quickly and went on an extraordinary unbeaten run through to December, which was really impressive when you consider how congested and competitive the Championship is. They then had a bit of a dip and most people thought they would then drift out of picture, but they have come through that and have now won three on spin.
bwfc.co.uk: What style of football has Chris Hughton got Brighton playing?
AN: Primarily, he’s gone with 4-4-2 formation which represents a significant change from recent seasons under the three previous managers. Occasionally they have gone with three in midfield, so they are still pretty flexible. They play with a good tempo, and still try to get the ball down.
bwfc.co.uk: What are the hopes for between now and the end of the season?
AN: The hopes is that they can make the top six, which would be the third time in four years. That would have to be seen as a success bearing in mind the club’s recent situation. Looking at the table at the moment, they are in with a shout of finishing in the top two, but realistically Middlesbrough, Derby, Burnley and Hull should all finish above them. They are in with a chance of automatic promotion, but there would be no complaints if they made the play-offs.
bwfc.co.uk: Who has been the dangerman?
AN: I hesitate because that isn’t what Brighton have been about. There hasn’t really been a stand out player and it has very much been a collective effort. There are early signs of Anthony Knockaert being a star after he was recently brought back to English football from Standard Liege, but right from the back everyone has played well. The two central midfielders, Dale Stephens, a Bolton lad, and someone Neil Lennon knows well, Beram Kayal, have been key. They now have other options there too after acquiring Steve Sidwell on loan from Stoke for the remainder of the season. They also have a few players coming back from injury in the next month or two, so the signs are certainly encouraging.
bwfc.co.uk: And finally, a prediction?
AN: Well, the interesting things with Brighton is that all of their wins had all been by a single goal until the recent 3-0 win over Brentford. Bolton have picked up of late and are fighting for their lives, but I’m going for a 3-1 home win.
Andy is on Twitter, @AndyNaylorArgus.
Preview: Brighton v Bolton
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