The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Nic Marko

JIMMY Floyd Has­sel­baink has in­sisted he won’t lose any sleep over the de­par­ture of star striker Char­lie Austin, 26, to Premier League out­fit Southamp­ton in a cut-price £4m deal.

Has­sel­baink said:“We were plan­ning on Char­lie be­ing here but he came to see me to say he had the op­por­tu­nity to go to Southamp­ton and he wanted to go.

“So what do you do? He had six months (left on his con­tract) and the club had to make a de­ci­sion.

“The club is big­ger than who­ever and it will give an op­por­tu­nity to some­one else. Char­lie wanted to go, he’s gone and the rest is his­tory.”

BOBBY Zamora marked his 35th birth­day by end­ing Brighton’s run of seven league games with­out a win – and Chris Hughton be­lieves the vet­eran striker is be­com­ing more ver­sa­tile with age.

Black­burn con­ceded the only goal of the game in the very early stages, when Zamora, pic­tured, tapped it home from close range.

From that point on­wards the game was an even con­test, as both sides strug­gled with the freez­ing con­di­tions, but Hughton was de­lighted with the hard-fought vic­tory.

Hughton said: “When Bobby’s like that and he’s fully fit, he’s a hand­ful. He’s al­ways very clever, he’s ad­justed his game as he’s got older.

“You need some­one like him who can hold the ball up like he does, and he has a knack of be­ing in the right place at the right time.

“I only found out af­ter­wards that it was his birth­day. I thought he capped off a good day for him but, most im­por­tantly, a good day for the team.

“It’s a big win for us out there, and we needed it. On the back of prob­a­bly our most dis­ap­point­ing re­sult on Tues­day (a 2-0 de­feat at Rother­ham), I couldn’t fault the play­ers.

“When you score early there is al­ways that feel­ing you’re hang­ing on a bit.We were rea­son­ably con­fi­dent we could maybe get a se­cond on the break, but it was a real tough day for us.”

In snowy con­di­tions Brighton took an early lead through Zamora’s sim­ple tap-in af­ter Jamie Mur­phy’s ef­fort came back off the post.

Rovers re­sponded brightly how­ever with Jor­dan Rhodes head­ing wide, and then fir­ing into the side-net­ting fol­low­ing a clever back­heel from Chris Brown.

The game re­mained a close af­fair, and Tomer Hemed al­most got through for the Seag­ulls to dou­ble their ad­van­tage, but was de­nied by a mag­nif­i­cent Matt Kil­gal­lon tackle.

Zamora had a great op­por­tu­nity to grab a se­cond late on in a first half low on chances, but the striker was de­nied by a great stop by Ja­son Steele.

The ex­pe­ri­enced front­man con­tin­ued to be the big­gest dan­ger af­ter the break, and nar­rowly missed the tar­get with a deft lob over Steele af­ter out­muscling Kil­gal­lon.

Rovers came inches from equal­is­ing not long af­ter how­ever, when Ben Mar­shall’s curled free-kick hit the post be­fore re­bound­ing back off David Stock­dale and bounc­ing on the line be­fore be­ing cleared by Lewis Dunk.

The game then be­gan to open up and the Seag­ulls hit back at the other end when An­thony Knock­aert smashed against the post.

Paul Lambert’s men con­tin­ued to press how­ever, as Craig Con­way smashed an ef­fort straight at the keeper be­fore Tommy Spurr fired just wide from long-range.

How­ever, Brighton man­aged to see off the Black­burn wave of pres­sure to clinch vic­tory.

A dis­ap­pointed Lambert said: “The goal was the first at­tack. I thought we started the game not too bad but then they rocked us.

“For 15 to 20 min­utes af­ter that we played too slow, too lethar­gic, pass­ing back­wards. I don’t want to see that kind of foot­ball.

“It’s strange for us be­cause we spoke all week about play­ing it early and get­ting it up front.

“When a goal goes in against us it rocks us a bit, but that shouldn’t be the case be­cause we still have so much time to re­trieve it.

“It was a game of two halves. The se­cond half was more like it but the first half we never got go­ing af­ter that goal.

“We’re still cre­at­ing chances, we just need that goal to go in.”

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