Brighton boss Hughton wary of ‘wonderfully-gifted’ Saints

Date published: Saturday 28th October 2017 1:19

Brighton boss Chris Hughton

Brighton boss Chris Hughton is cautious of a Southampton side he knows can bring the Seagulls crashing back down to earth following last week’s impressive victory at West Ham.

Albion were stout in defence at the London Stadium, with Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk repelling £16million striker Javier Hernandez, and clinical in attack, as two goals from Glenn Murray and one from Jose Izquierdo sealed a 3-0 win.

Hughton has called for a similar performance at both ends of the field on Sunday when they welcome Saints to the Amex Stadium.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have struggled for consistency this season, but will be eyeing back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April, having edged out West Brom last weekend.

Hughton told the club’s official website: “They’re a very good side on the ball. They have a lot of ability and play in a certain way – I don’t think they’ll change their expansive style.

“In their last game, they played with two very good players up front (Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini). We’ll be very conscious that we have to defend well, because they’re very good offensively.

“If we want to win the game, then the onus is on us to put pressure on them and allow ourselves opportunities to score goals.

“Southampton are a wonderfully-gifted team, and that makes it a very dangerous game.”

If Brighton are to keep Southampton in check then they may need another commanding display from goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

The Australian arrived on the south coast for a then club record transfer fee from Valencia in June and has steadily grown into the number one role, leaving fellow summer signing Tim Krul kicking his heels on the substitutes’ bench.

Ryan was one of the standout performers against Everton in a 1-1 draw two weeks ago, while West Ham failed to find a way past the 25-year-old last Friday.

Hughton added: “He knows the reason why we brought him in, because of what we’d seen him do over the last few seasons and how we liked that.

“Going back to the Everton game without a couple of very good saves, it’s a game we could have lost.

“There can’t be anything better for a goalkeeper than to be on the back of a clean sheet, so I’m really delighted for him.”

Hughton has a near fully-fit squad to choose from, with Steve Sidwell the only absentee as he continues his recovery from a back injury.

Fellow midfielder Beram Kayal and forward Sam Baldock could be included in the match-day squad for the first time this season after their recoveries from a broken leg and calf surgery respectively.

Striker Tomer Hemed is in contention to return to the starting line-up after completing a three-game suspension for violent conduct.

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