Opposing View - Brighton & Hove Albion
What were your hopes/fears/expectations for the season?
At the beginning of the season I hoped for a comfortable mid table finish. I believe our current squad is more than capable of achieving this.
How long can you hold onto Gus Poyet?
He has just signed a new 5 year deal, saying that contracts aren`t worth the paper they are written on these days. However I do expect him to be around for a few more seasons to come and honestly believe Gus will only feel he has achieved something with us if he gains promotion to the premier league.
How has Craig Mackail-Smith done - has he begun to justify his price tag?
Yes from game one. He doesn`t stop running, creates chances for others and can finish what more could you ask for in a striker?
What do you put your recent slump down to?
We were always going to have one eventually, anyone who has followed the Albion for long enough knows that! In all honesty earlier in the season we were riding the crest of the wave that promotion brings. We had a couple of poorer performances where we didn`t get the win and since then we have spiraled a little bit. There have been signs over the last couple of games however that suggest we are improving again, so Tuesday night should be an excellent game!
How much of a difference has having the Amex made?
It has made a massive difference on the caliber of player we are able to attract and on the attendances. We have had a problem with Johnny Come Lately Fans rocking up and expecting the team to play like Brazil week in week out and booing when they don`t. Not to worry though, I am sure they will disappear back to being armchair premiership fans in no time!
Who is the key man we should be looking out for Tuesday?
Leeds fans will laugh, but Billy Paynter. We have been struggling to hold the ball up front this season meaning it has come back at us a bit too quickly for our liking. Paynter came on at Birmingham on Saturday and held the ball up for the likes of Craig Mackail Smith and Ashley Barnes to exploit the gaps.
Where will you finish this season?
Mid table, most well informed Brighton fans will tell you that this year is for consolidating our status in the second tier. Our poor run of form highlighted a few weaknesses in the squad which have been plugged by decent loan signings, but a more permanent fix will need to be achieved before we can realistically harbor any hopes of a sustained challenge further up the table. Saying that the Championship is a very unpredictable league and any team who puts a good run of form together could find themselves at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford next season!
It will be close, I can`t see a draw and I think whoever wins will only do so by a small margin. I will stop short of predicting a Brighton win though.
A good ploy, you don't want to tempt fate!