Brighton and Hove Albion have the perfect opportunity to make up for a trio of empty-handed Amex games, starting this weekend when Huddersfield make the long trip south to take on Chris Hughton’s team, who currently occupy fifth spot in the SkyBet Championship.
Defeats to Middlesbrough, Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers saw the Albion drop out of the automatic promotion places and surprised many supporters after their unbeaten start to the season. Victory at Blackburn Rovers last weekend ended the winless streak Albion painfully endured throughout December and January, also concluding a run of six games without a goal.
The trio of defeats clearly dented the confidence of Hughton’s squad, especially the 3-0 thrashing table-toppers Middlesbrough served up shortly before Christmas. However, with Bobby Zamora’s 3rd minute strike at Ewood Park putting the Albion back on the winning trail, a hat-trick of home fixtures have landed at the perfect time for the Sussex club.
Following the visit of David Wagner’s 16th placed Yorkshire outfit, Brentford and Bolton Wanderers travel south to complete the home treble. Unbeaten in the reverse fixture against all three clubs, but also winless, Hughton will be looking to go one better as Albion aim to make the most of their home advantage and secure maximum points in front of the Amex faithful.
Brentford sit in 11th position, having lost three games on the spin and have yet to match the form that saw them clinch a play-off spot last season. A 0-0 stalemate at Griffin Park was the only point Hughton’s men picked up throughout the five-game goalless streak, offering some hope heading into the Friday night fixture in front of the Sky cameras.
Albion’s final opponents in the three game run have been rooted to the bottom of the league table for a number of weeks, with only two wins from 27 league games this season. Albion squandered a 2-0 lead at the Macron Stadium in September, conceding a stoppage time equaliser to deny the Seagulls of all three points.
The hat-trick of home games will be pivotal in where Albion find themselves come the end of February. The generous fixture streak soon turns upside down following the Bolton game, with a trio of consecutive away matches leading into the visit of Leeds United that concludes the month. Tough trips to Hull City, Cardiff City and Bristol City mount pressure on Albion’s luxurious run at the Amex Stadium.
Winning at home and drawing on the road was the formula behind Albion’s early season success. If Chris Hughton’s team can secure maximum points on home soil, defeat elsewhere will implement less damage to their hesitant league position. A clean canvas awaits on Saturday afternoon and the quicker they make their mark, the sooner Albion’s final picture will become clear.