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Championship 2012/13 Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion

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Club: Brighton and Hove Albion

Last Season: 10th Championship

Recent History:

After narrowly avoiding liquidation in 1998 the progress that this club have made in a relatively short time is quite astounding. After Tony Bloom became chairman in 2009 they now play their football at the brand new 27,250 capacity AMEX stadium and the future looks bright with Gus Poyet at the helm.

The club was still in dire financial straits as recently as 2004 with a deficit of £9.5 million and no real home ground. They used the Withdean Stadium for a number of years but this had not been built as a football ground; it was formerly used mainly for athletics and, oddly, it was once a zoo. So the fact that just the other week they beat a strong Chelsea line-up 3-1 in a pre season friendly is some feat.

Gus Poyet took over from Russell Slade in 2009 and in his first season led Brighton to the League One title winning the league’s manager of the year award in the process.

Manager profile:

Everyone will be aware of Gus Poyet in his playing days. He was a consistent performer for Chelsea after joining from Real Zaragoza, a very commendable goal ratio for a midfielder he went on to end his career on a high at Spurs. Poyet played classy football and scored some fantastic goals; he was all about entertainment and it would seem he has taken that philosophy into his managerial career.
Brighton play attractive passing football (you can see Gus himself discussing this here.. http://www.skysports.com/video/inline/0,,16428_7843972,00.html ) and it seems to be working for them.

Prior to joining Brighton Poyet was assistant manager to Dennis Wise at Leeds and later at Spurs in 2007-08. Brighton is Poyet’s first stint as a full club manager.

Summer Transfer Activity:

Ins: Andrew Crofts (Norwich City, undisclosed)
Tomasz Kuszczak (Manchester United, free)
Bruno Saltor (Valencia, free)
Wayne Bridge (Manchester City, loan)

Outs: Alan Navarro (Swindon Town, free)
Michael Poke (Torquay United, free)
Jake Forster-Caskey (Oxford United, loan)
Yaser Kasim (Luton Town, loan)
David Gonzalez (released)
Tommy Elphick (Bournemouth, undisclosed)

Expected Line up :

Kuszczak, Bruno/Calderon, Bridge, Greer, Dunk, Bridcutt, Vicente, Crofts, Buckley, Barnes, Mackail-Smith

Tactics/Formation:

Gus Poyet focuses on 4-4-2 and last season some fans noticed a difference in that the team was not quite so attacked minded and often preferred a more pragmatic approach. By finishing a very respectable tenth Poyet justified this decision but he has said himself that his main aim in the transfer market is another striker, one that they will certainly need if the speculation surrounding Mackail-Smith’s proposed move to Leeds is accurate.

What are the fans saying:

As is always the case when a club progresses at a fast rate and enjoys consecutive successes the fans at Brighton may be setting their expectations a little too high this season. After beating the champions of Europe 3-1 recently you can perhaps see why. But although Poyet has undoubtedly strengthened his squad – the acquisition of Bridge was a remarkable coup, not to mention Bruno as well – I do not think they have enough to earn promotion. A place in the top six is, whilst doable, a bit of a push.

Main forum: http://www.northstandchat.com/forum.php

Odds: 11/2 for promotion

Verdict:

Brighton have come on leaps and bounds as a club in recent years and with a young manager like Poyet they should continue to progress. This season may be too much too soon to expect promotion to the top flight however, a finish of around 8th is more realistic. That said if the new signings slot quickly into the team they could be a surprise package; they've acquired a good keeper in Kuszczak, Bruno played 17 times for Valencia in La Liga last year whilst Crofts and of course Bridge are very good signings. If Poyet manages to bring in another quality striker then Brighton will be a side to be feared.

Compiled by: @samcooke91

Can Brighton kick on again this season ?

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Roland Out!