Brighton & Hove Albion v Preston North End

14 Oct

Dale Stephens


Dale Stephens has made seven appearances for Brighton this season

BBC coverage

How to follow:
Final Score; BBC Radio 5 live, BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Brighton midfielder Dale Stephens is available again after a one-game ban and could return as Beram Kayal (ankle) has been ruled out for two months.

Defender Liam Rosenior (ankle) and winger Kazenga LuaLua (knee) are both still sidelined.

Preston trio Jermaine Beckford, Marnick Vermijl and Aidan McGeady have not recovered from their injuries.

Left-back Greg Cunningham is suspended after he received his fifth booking of the season in the win over Aston Villa.

Analysis

BBC Sussex’s Johnny Cantor:“Despite the news this week that key midfielder Beram Kayal is out for two months after ankle surgery, Brighton will want to maintain their current momentum and make it five league wins in six.

“The recent defensive record has been the foundation of the unbeaten run, with the team conceding just once in their last five matches.

“Boss Chris Hughton has a decision to make up front after Sam Baldock marked his return to the starting XI with a goal at Hillsborough, but Tomer Hemed struck three in two games for Israel in the international break.

“Two successive home games for a team placed fourth provides an opportunity to close the gap on the leading sides, but also keep the chasing pack at bay.”

BBC Radio Lancashire’s Phil Cunliffe: “After racking up four wins and a draw from their last six matches, all looks good at Deepdale with disapproving voices from the terraces quietened, for now. North End embark on a tough but fascinating set of fixtures but do so on the back of a thrilling win over Aston Villa.

“Hopefully that result, and the manner in which it was achieved, will convince any ‘wavering supporters’ that PNE are indeed progressing under manager Simon Grayson and capable of playing winning football.

“Of course, we should have a better idea of where that progression is leading come the end of October as the next four games are against teams in the top four of the Championship.

“Considering Brighton boast the most miserly defence in the Championship and North End are stubborn opponents, I can see this clash being another goalless draw. That was the case in both league meetings last season and Grayson would probably take that result before kick-off.”

Match facts

  • Brighton are winless in five league games against Preston (D4 L1), with each of the last four ending 0-0.
  • Indeed, no fixture in Football League history has seen five consecutive 0-0 draws.
  • Brighton’s Anthony Knockaert has scored the most match-winning goals in Championship this season (4).
  • Preston have either scored exactly two goals or none at all in each of their last 11 away league games, netting twice on six occasions.
  • The Seagulls have kept a league-high seven clean sheets so far this term; at least two more than any other team.
  • Jordan Hugill has found the back of the net in three of his last five league games for Preston (including one assist), after netting just one in his previous nine appearances.

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