Three wins on the bounce has somewhat steadied the ship, but United face stern tests in the next few weeks, the first of which comes against a resurgent Brighton side unbeaten in 17 of their last 18 league matches.
Brighton and Hove Albion – A Factfile
Nickname: The Seagulls
Stadium: American Express Community Stadium (The Amex)
Manager: Chris Hughton
2015-16: Championship, 3rd
Major Honours: None
2016-17 Scout Report
– Steve Sidwell – CM – The veteran central midfielder adds vital experience to a side that has been flirting with promotion in the past few seasons. Sidwell’s part in Reading’s record-breaking 2005-06 campaign cannot be understated, and proves he has the guile and grit to play, and more importantly, win at Championship level.
– Oliver Norwood – CM – A new signing from Reading, Norwood adds vital competition to a position already packed with top midfield options in Kayal and Sidwell. Capable of dictating play and picking a neat pass, the Northern Irishman is a playmaker with over 150 games in the Championship.
– Glenn Murray – ST (loan) – Somewhat of a Brighton legend after firing them to the Championship during the 2010-11 season before departing for bitter rivals Crystal Palace. Murray has scored goals in the Premier League in recent years and is on loan from AFC Bournemouth, much to the Brighton supporters’ delight.
– Inigo Calderon – RB – Former Brighton stalwart, Calderon featured over 200 times in defence for the Seagulls before being released at the end of last season. Hughton overseeing a changing of the guard could prove to be a masterstroke or a mistake.
– Gordon Greer – CB – Club captain for the past number of seasons, Scottish international Greer was another casualty of Hughton’s transitional regime. The 35-year old’s experience has been important over the past few years however a more youthful approach in defence could be the key to ending Brighton’s promotion woes.
– Tomer Hemed – ST – Israeli international forward with 17 league goals last year, Hemed was an imposing figurehead of Brighton’s attacks, leading the line for Hughton’s side on the vast majority of occasions. His abrasive approach could cause problems for United’s centre-back pairing of choice.
– Anthony Knockaert – RW – Hot property in the Championship, Knockaert is no stranger to Newcastle United’s scouts and fans alike. Having set the division alight when he signed from Standard Liege in January 2016, the Frenchman has attracted a great deal of attention. His style of play as a pacey winger causes problems for Championship defences every week, and Saturday will be no exception.
2016-17 Season (Last Six Results)
Derby County 0-0 Brighton – Championship
Brighton 4-0 Colchester United – EFL Cup
Brighton 3-0 Nottingham Forest – Championship
Brighton 3-0 Rotherham United – Championship
Reading 2-2 Brighton – Championship
Oxford United 2-4 Brighton – EFL Cup
Manager – Chris Hughton – A man who needs no introduction to the Newcastle United faithful after guiding his 2009-10 troop to promotion, bouncing back to the Premier League at the first attempt. The unfancied Brighton made it to the brink of the Premier League last season under the stewardship of their astute boss. A careful tactician proven by his Championship campaign with Norwich too, Hughton is a manager with a wealth of experience in this division and has his sides well drilled and well organised. With Colin Calderwood as his assistant, Brighton have a dynamic duo capable of leading a promotion charge having retained the core of their squad that missed out on Premier League football on goal difference.
Did You Know?
– Since their 4-1 defeat to Cardiff City in February, Brighton have lost just one competitive fixture, coming against Sheffield Wednesday in last season’s Play-Offs.
– During 2016 Brighton have won eight matches by a margin of three goals or more.