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Opposing View: Brighton & H. Albion

Opposing View: Brighton & H. Albion
Vital Brighton & Hove Albion editor Tom Bravo helps us preview Saturday's clash at the AmEx Stadium

Hopes, fears & expectations for the season?

I think I speak for most when I say the hope (and expectation) was to better last season's 10th place finish and try and become major play-off contenders.

Last season we went on a fantastic run around January time, but were unable to sustain our push for the top six as our inexperience (both managerial and playing personel) ultimately saw us fall just short.

It'll be interesting to see how much of a difference our added experience will make this time round.

Half-way point of the season - on track or not?

Yes (and no).

We're still within touching distance of yourselves in sixth, with a healthy goal difference and a game in hand on most (much like yourselves).

We've seen greater levels of consistency in our performances, with no shortage of goal-scoring chances, but unfortunately it hasn't always been reflected in the results.

Indeed, we've become the draw specialists of the division in recent months, with many sides grateful to take a point from a game in which they should've been dead and buried during our dominant (but wasteful) spells. That'll be the key for the rest of the season - learning to finish teams off by taking our chances.

Craig Mackail-Smith has already bettered last season's league tally of 9 goals - what's changed?

As I touched on above, better and more frequent service.

Last season he admitted to having to adapt to our more measured approach play, with it being in stark contrast to the gung-ho style he enjoyed at Peterborough. This term we've been putting it in the right areas for him, mixing up a our play a little more to utilise his pace in behind and, injuries permitting, he should be on his way to 15-20 goals.

That said, his finishing has left a lot to be desired at times, so it could be a whole lot more!

Key player on Saturday?

Mackail-Smith often performs well on Sky, so he may well put in one of his better performances.

Will Buckley and Andrea Orlandi are a key creative sources on the flank and in attacking midfield; Orlandi looks set to return having been sidelined with a broken rib for a month, and we've definitely missed his positive play and eye for a pass in the middle of the park.

Buckley, not that I need to tell you, provides the pace and penetration on the wing - whilst we've also got Kazenga LuaLua pushing for a first team spot.

One Seagull you'd drive to his next club & why?

All the first team regulars offer different things to the team, however we've got a number of midfielders who seem to be clogging up the wage bill for no good reason - namely Ryan Harley.

Arrived with high expectations and on a 3-year deal, but is so far out of the first team picture now after some pretty disappointing performances last season. Any offer, from anywhere - we'll take it.

One Watford player you'd snare & why?

Matej Vydra, from what I've seen and read, is the sort of player we could do with right now. A forward who is clinical and confident in front of goal would be potentially be the missing part of the jigsaw for us.

Any injury concerns or suspensions?

After a few weeks of putting round pegs in square holes at the back, we're back to near full strength for your visit - mostly thanks to the 10 days or so we've had to recover with recent postponements and re-arranged fixtures.

Vicente, who hasn't featured since the opening week of the season, is our only definite absentee.

Match prediction?

We rarely serve up boring games in-front of the cameras, so I'll go for a entertaining 1-1 or 2-2 draw.

Cheers, Tom. Remember to CLICK HERE to see how I answered Tom's questions!

Writer:Tom Bodell
Date:Friday December 28 2012
Time: 10:47AM

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