Who else believes that this is as good as any time to be a Brighton supporter? It’s almost too good to be true, but you can stop pinching yourself because you aren’t dreaming, what you are witnessing this season is actually happening. An unbeaten league run stretching 18 games, sitting in the promotion place and now a future starlet has joined our promotion push for the season. It’s a big change since this time last year where Brighton were hovering above the relegation zone, and had only won 3 times all season. Now they have a squad as good as any of their competitors, not to mention the added firepower of James Wilson, who rejected 20 other clubs to join Brighton for the season! They welcome Birmingham to the South Coast on Saturday, and if this game is as good as the last, we are all in for a treat.
Birmingham sit in the final play-off spot as present, and have had an upturn in fortunes; for nearly being relegated to promotion contenders in the space of a year and a half. They have had a great start to their season, losing only 5 games, 4 of which have come at home! They fair much better on the road however, picking up 17 points out of a possible 24. Most of their goals have come from powerhouse forward Clayton Donaldson (5), but he is ruled out for the trip to The AMEX due to a groin injury; he is joined by Paul Robinson and David Cotterill on the medic table, with quad and knee injuries respectively. They do however have midfielder Jon Toral available, and he will be looking to add to his 3 goal tally. New loan signings James Vaughan and Greg Halford will both be avaliable for selection, and look set to feature on Saturday.
Brighton will have new signings James Wilson and Rajiv van La Parra avaliable to them too on Saturday, and both look set to feature at some point. Kazenga LuaLua and Andrew Crofts are back in training, but this game will come too early for them, while Inigo Calderon, Uwe Hunemeier and Rohan Ince and all expect to be fit after missing out last weekend due to illness, ankle and groin injuries respectively. Long-term absentees Gaetan Bong and Sam Baldock won’t be avaliable until at least the New Year. Brighton will be looking to secure another 3 home points, after taking them home 6 times out of 8. Tomer Hemed’s goal-drought goes on (9 games), and may feel cautious about his starting place after the signing of Wilson.
The H-2-H record shows good and bad reading; Birmingham have won 5 times out of the 16 games played compared to Brighton’s 4. However, 3 of those wins have come in the last 4 matches between the 2 sides, including their recent game where Brighton won 4-3 back in February. Minus that game, the previous 3 matches before have been settled by the scoreline of 1-0, and Saturday’s game can go down a similar route with both teams in such good form.
Bruno, Greer, Hunemeier, Rosenior;
March, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy;
Brighton 1-0 Birmingham