Albion on hunt for first points of season

Brighton & Hove Albion FC news
Brighton & Hove Albion FC news
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Albion will be on the hunt for their first points of the new campaign when they host Derby County at the Amex on Saturday afternoon.

Oscar Garcia’s first two games in charge of the Seagulls have both resulted in defeat - a narrow 2-1 loss against Leeds on the opening day of the season, and a 3-1 defeat at home to lowly Newport County on Tuesday evening.

The clash with Derby will be Oscar’s first league home game on the South Coast and three points would dismiss the proverbial monkey on the Spaniard’s back.

Injury News

The Seagulls go into the game without Bruno (hamstring) and Inigo Calderon (suspended), so Latvia international Vitalijs Maksimenko is likely to feature at left-back.

David Lopez is favourite to continue in the right-back berth, although Adam El-Abd could replace the Spaniard to allow him a more natural midfield role.

Tomas Kuszczak, Matthew Upson, Liam Bridcutt and Leonardo Ulloa are all likely to come back into the starting 11 after they dropped to the bench for the midweek Capital One Cup tie.

The Rams come into the tie with no injury concerns.

Form

Albion’s hectic summer has contributed to a sluggish start to the season, losing their opening two games, but their record against Derby is strong.

In the last five meetings between the pair, the Seasiders have won three, drawn one and lost one, with the only defeated dating back to 2008.

Ashley Barnes and Andrea Orlandi were the goalscorers in this fixture last term as Albion ran out 2-1 winners in a feisty affair.

County conceded in the 89th minute against Blackburn Rovers last weekend to deny them an opening day winner, but they claimed a 1-0 win away at Oldham in the cup a few days later, despite a much changed team.

Ones to Watch

Liam Bridcutt (Albion)

The midfielder’s questionable performances of late haven’t gone unnoticed by the fans, but the expectancy levels around the 24-year-old are only a result of his prior outstanding performances. I expect Bridcutt’s form to dramatically increase over the next few weeks as he, and the team, implement Oscar’s plans.

Derby - Will Hughes

The youngster is one of the brightest talents outside of the topflight and was awarded with the Man of the Match award last weekend. Hughes was forced off in January’s tie at the Amex because of an injury just seconds before the half time whistle.

Stat

Derby have failed to win 11 of their last 12 away matches in the Championship. (WhoScored)