SEAG­ULL SUP­PORT HAS TO RE­MAIN PA­TIENT

The Football League Paper - - ADAM VIRGO -

I’M con­vinced Brighton will stay in the Premier League next sea­son. There are just two things I worry about.

One, that sup­port­ers have be­come used to win­ning games of foot­ball over the last two years.

Since the start of 201516, Chris Hughton’s first full sea­son, the Seag­ulls have lost just 13 of their 90 Cham­pi­onship matches. That’s roughly one ev­ery six weeks.

They got 89 points last year. They’ve got 90-plus this time. They’ve grown ac­cus­tomed to dom­i­nat­ing, to be­ing favourite, to get­ting their own way.

Now, they’re go­ing to be un­der­dogs ev­ery game and go through pe­ri­ods where they only pick up one point in a month.

It will be a shock to the sys­tem and I just hope they stay pa­tient.

My other fear is re­cruit­ment. So far, it’s been bril­liant un­der Chris. With the odd ex­cep­tion, like Elvis Manu or Jiri Skalak, ev­ery­one has hit the ground run­ning.

That trend has to con­tinue – and the cur­rent play­ers have to be trusted. Bournemouth are a great ex­am­ple of a team who got the blend right.

I’m sure Brighton fans will look at cer­tain play­ers and say ‘Is he good enough?’. But who’d have thought Char­lie Daniels would be a Premier League left-back when he was at Ley­ton Ori­ent, that Steve Cook could per­form at the high­est level, or Harry Arter?

You’ve got to be care­ful not to write peo­ple off and I think that’s where Chris Hughton’s ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of play­ers is go­ing to be vi­tal.

For me, the team is broadly good. All they need is a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence – some­one like Jer­main De­foe on a free or a young loa­nee like Chelsea’s Ruben Lof­tusCheek.

Bol­ster that with a player like Tom Cairney, as­sum­ing Ful­ham aren’t pro­moted, and I don’t think Brighton will be far off. Most crit­i­cal of all is get­ting the right per­son­al­i­ties and not blow­ing the wage struc­ture.

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