Chris Hughton looks to home comforts for Brighton

Date published: Thursday 9th March 2017 9:42

Brighton boss Chris Hughton is targeting more home comforts as his team try to draw level on points with Sky Bet Championship leaders Newcastle on Friday night.The Seagulls have the best home record in the division and their dramatic defeat to the Magpies last month was their first league loss at the Amex Stadium since September.

A midweek triumph over Rotherham righted the ship after back-to-back defeats and three points over Derby on Friday at a venue where they have won 13 of their 18 Championship games would strengthen their bid for automatic promotion.

“Our home form has always been key to the position we’ve had in this division, particularly over the last couple of seasons in my time here,” Hughton said at his pre-match press conference.

“We certainly put great importance on that, but we’re in a division where the teams at the top end are pushing very hard at the moment.

“You have to keep the mindset of winning your home games, but we also know we’ve got away games where we’ll have to get victories as well.”

No team has scored more home goals across the division and Hughton thinks Derby’s injury-depleted defence is one they can exploit.

Richard Keogh should be available following a calf injury that kept him out for three games but Jason Shackell remains sidelined with a back problem, meaning Steve McClaren has had to use midfielder Chris Baird at centre-half recently.

“We’ve always known about the options they have,” Hughton added.

“They’ve got a very good squad, but I know they’ve found it difficult in defensive areas over the last few games.

“Similar to ourselves, they’ve had a couple of centre-halves out. But Derby have always had a very big squad that’s full of quality.”

While Brighton are trying to avoid slipping into the play-offs once more, participating in that phase of the season is the goal for a Derby side struggling for consistency.

Last month the Rams returned only two points from a five-game sequence against Bristol City, Cardiff, Burton, Aston Villa and Blackburn.

“Against the sides below us in the table, who come to us with the mentality of just trying to make it difficult, those are the sides that we haven’t been good enough against, plain and simple,” midfielder Jacob Butterfield told Derby’s official website.

“Over the last six weeks, we have played a lot of teams in the bottom half and there has been an expectancy from us to pick up the three points and we haven’t been able to do that nearly enough.

“Maybe going to somewhere like Brighton will suit us. They are going to come out and attack us, leaving a bit more space to go and attack them.”

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