Competition at Brighton is boosting performances – Hughton

Date published: Tuesday 13th December 2016 2:09

Chris Hughton believes competition for places in his Brighton squad is boosting performances as they look to go top of the Sky Bet Championship with victory against Blackburn on Tuesday night.

The Seagulls travel to Ewood Park on the back of a 12-game unbeaten run in the league, and with leaders Newcastle not in action until Wednesday, three points against Owen Coyle’s men would send Brighton top.

“You want players to push you, you want to have tough decisions to make,” Hughton told Seagulls Player.

“We’re a team with good options, we’re a team that’s in good form at the moment and we’ll go about all of these games in exactly the same way.

“We’ve got two very tough away games starting with Blackburn tomorrow – and they are a side that’s in very good form.”

Blackburn had taken seven points from three games prior to a 3-2 defeat in the Lancashire derby against Preston on Saturday, and Rovers could do with a swift return to winning ways.

They currently occupy 21st place in the table, with only goal difference keeping them out of the bottom three – not that Hughton expects them to be in trouble come the end of the season.

“I think they’re in a good moment,” he added. “Their performance levels are very good. We expect a very tough game.”

Third-placed Reading will be hoping to close the gap on the top two with a seventh win in eight league games when they travel to fellow promotion chasers Leeds.

Jaap Stam will be without Danny Williams, who serves the second game of a three-match ban, for the trip to Elland Road, while the hosts have their own suspension problems with Kalvin Phillips missing out after being sent off in the loss to Brighton last Friday night.

Huddersfield coach David Wagner is not expected to make any enforced changes as his side seek back-to-back wins for the first time since October at Burton.

Rotherham remain eight points adrift at the foot of the table despite registering only their second win of the season against QPR on Saturday, and they will pick from an unchanged squad at Fulham.

Norwich and Aston Villa have both had their struggles adapting to life in the second tier since being relegated in the summer, and they meet at Carrow Road with both sides in need of points to make up ground on the top six.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal looks set to keep faith with Lucas Joao for the South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley despite the forward having failed to score in the league this season.

Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom is expected to choose from an unchanged squad following the win against Norwich at the weekend as his side bid to leapfrog the Owls in the table, while struggling Cardiff host Wolves and Bristol City welcome Brentford.

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