Vital Reading season preview
Club: Brighton and Hove Albion
Nickname: The Seagulls
Ground: Amex Stadium (Capacity: 30,750)
When we face off: Fri 26th December (A), Sat 7th March (H)
Last season finish: 6th – Championship
Manager: Sami Hyypia – The former Liverpool defender turned his hand to management once he retired and after a decent spell in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, has returned to England as a manager. It will be interesting to see if Hyypia’s style of play differs to that of Oscar Garcia’s and Gus Poyet’s fluid, passing style and whether it would suit the second tier of English football – time will tell.
Key player: Andrew Crofts – If the central midfielder would have stayed injury free last season, Brighton may not have needed final day drama to secure a play-off spot. The former Norwich player has great experience at this level and has been pivotal to the passing philosophy at Brighton over the past few years. Crofts’ experience will be for vital for the likes of Ince and Forster-Casket to develop.
Season Preview: I can’t really call how Brighton are going to do this year, as it will depend on a few aspects. Firstly, whether they will replace the important duo of Tomasz Kuszczak and Leonardo Ulloa, who both departed over the summer and secondly, how well Hyypia adapts to managing English football, especially as it differs not only from abroad, but the Premier League too. Brighton have a good blend of youth and experience in their squad, but need a goalscorer if they want any chance on succeeding in the Championship this season.