I WANT A CRACK AT THE BIG BOYS

Mur­ray’s point to prove in Premier

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ben Baker

GLENN Mur­ray looks set for an­other crack at the Premier League next sea­son, but the Brighton striker knows his red-hot form this cam­paign doesn’t guar­an­tee him any­thing.

The 33-year-old sharp­shooter brought up 20 Cham­pi­onship goals this term with the opener in a rou­tine 3-1 vic­tory over strug­gling Birm­ing­ham on Tues­day night.

It is the sec­ond time he has achieved that land­mark in the Cham­pi­onship – go­ing on to score 30 when Crys­tal Palace were pro­moted in 2013 – while he is the first Al­bion player to reach the mile­stone in the sec­ond tier since Bill Curry fin­ished with 23 in 1959-60.

His goals have put the Seagulls on the cusp of the Premier League – and he bagged his 21st of the cam­paign as the Seagulls strength­ened their pro­mo­tion bid with a 2-1 win at QPR on Fri­day.

While ad­mit­ting he would love an­other chance to prove him­self at the top level, fol­low­ing dis­ap­point­ing stints with Crys­tal Palace and Bournemouth, Mur­ray knows that with Premier League sta­tus comes new chal­lenges.

“First, we have to get to the Premier League and then the job is to stay there. I am sure the club will spend at some point in or­der to do that,” said Mur­ray, whose con­tract ex­pires in 2019.

Il­lu­sions

“It is nice to get 20 goals. That was the aim and I am pleased I got there. I never re­ally put an amount on how many goals I want to get but you have lit­tle mile­stones dur­ing the sea­son and, once you have reached one, you set an­other.

“I think all strik­ers are greedy. That is what makes us who we are. I am no dif­fer­ent. I al­ways want to get as many goals as I can.

“But I am un­der no il­lu­sions that, if we were to get to the Premier League, then the club will look to bring play­ers in and rightly so as the next aim will be to stay there.

“I am look­ing to get back to the Premier League and score goals at that level again. It would be nice to get a run of game time and keep the team there.

“I want to score goals and, hope­fully, I will get a chance to do that next year in the Premier League, but first we have to get there and then a lot can hap­pen af­ter that, too.”

Racked

Hot on Mur­ray’s goalscor­ing heels is An­thony Knock­aert, who with 13 strikes was the high­est-scor­ing mid­fielder in the Cham­pi­onship this term ahead of the game with QPR.

The French­man has also racked up eight as­sists, and that form has seen him nom­i­nated for the Cham­pi­onship Player of the Sea­son award along­side Leeds hit­man Chris Wood and New­cas­tle striker Dwight Gayle.

The win­ner will be re­vealed at the EFL Awards in Lon­don tonight.

Mur­ray ad­mits it is a dream to play along­side the 25-year-old wide man.

“An­thony is a fan­tas­tic player and ev­ery­one has been able to see that this sea­son,” said Mur­ray. “He has been nom­i­nated as one of the top three play­ers of the sea­son.

“That is much de­served and it is plain to see how im­por­tant he is for us.

“He is a great player and when you give him the ball things hap­pen. That type of player is few and far be­tween and we are lucky to have him.”

Mur­ray also be­lieves Seagulls boss Chris Hughton de­serves recog­ni­tion for the job he has done.

“Go­ing into the sea­son, there was an ex­pec­ta­tion that we would be one of the favourites for pro­mo­tion, and with that comes pres­sure,” he added.

“To still be there or there­abouts at this stage of the sea­son shows what a great man­ager he is. He keeps our feet on the ground.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

BLUES BROTHERS: Glenn Mur­ray cel­e­brates with An­thony Knock­aert af­ter scor­ing against Birm­ing­ham

CREDIT: Chris Hughton

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