Brighton and Hove Albion welcome Brentford to the Amex Stadium for a Friday night clash in front of the Sky cameras, with both teams looking to improve on the 0-0 Boxing Day stalemate they shared earlier this season.
A drab affair lodged between five losses for the Seagulls across December and January, was the only point Chris Hughton’s side managed to obtain throughout a recent dip in form, that concluded with back-to-back wins over Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town.
Brentford also started 2016 in poor fashion, losing their opening four games before gaining four points from a convincing win at Deepdale and a 1-1 draw with Leeds United in their most recent outing.
The January transfer window hit Dean Smith’s team where it hurts, losing influential players Toumani Diagouraga and James Tarkowski to Burnley and Leeds United respectively. The Bees failed to make any bold acquisitions throughout the month and go into Friday’s fixture feeling understrength without the key pairing that left Griffin Park.
Brighton’s transfer dealings were positive and new signings Steve Sidwell and Jiri Skalak will be available to make their debuts for Hughton’s bolstered side. January arrival Anthony Knockaert will be looking to build on his impressive performance last time out, where he assisted both goals in Albion’s 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town.
Brentford will however be boosted by the return from injury of midfielder Lewis McLeod, with the former Rangers man poised to make his long-awaited debut 13 months after joining the club. The 21-year-old has been plagued with injury since signing for the London club in December 2014 and will be included in the squad travelling to the south coast.
Albion will still be without club captain Gordon Greer, as he continues to suffer from a reoccurring hamstring injury. Kazenga Lua Lua will hope to receive more game time following his return but striker Sam Baldock remains a doubt going into Friday night’s game, which could propel the Albion into 3rd place ahead of Saturday’s fixture list.
The last time Brentford visited the south coast, they ran out 1-0 winners with a solitary Andre Gray goal separating the side’s fighting at different ends of the table. However, with Brentford currently sitting in 10th and Albion ten points ahead in 5th position, Hughton’s team will be looking to show off their league table advantage and complete a hat-trick of wins on the spin.