Johnny Cantor: Don’t panic! Hughton is the man you want in this kind of situation

Albion boss Chris Hughton greets Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on Sunday. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

As the travel news faded away on BBC Sussex at 6 o’clock on Tuesday ahead of Albion Unlimited, news broke that striker Tomer Hemed would be suspended for three games following a ruling from The FA.

We discussed the incident in full but whatever you thought, whether you felt he stood or stamped, whether it was an accident or intentional, the player, the club and the supporters must move on. The player himself has made a statement via social media and says he will work hard to be ready for his return.

We will only know in time the full impact of the decision but there is no need for anyone to shout ‘Don’t panic Mr Hughton’ in a voice from Dad’s Army. He won’t. If there was any man you would want in this kind of situation it would be the Seagulls’ boss.

Chief sports writer for the Daily Telegraph Paul Hayward said on the show on Tuesday that he didn’t feel Hughton was a conservative manager but a manager who was getting the best out of what is at his disposal.

Of course Hughton wanted another striker in the transfer window but he has what he has. The word I would use to describe the Albion boss is pragmatic. In my dealings with the Albion manager he always takes a calm approach. We know he can be exasperated on the touchline at times but in general he makes a calculated judgement.

We know what he has available and what you do know is he will work tirelessly this week to set his team up as best as possible. In fact it could be seen as fortunate that the first of the three games that Hemed misses is a tough away trip to Arsenal. As many pundits have said on the show in recent weeks the game is a ‘free hit’.

Noone is necessarily expecting the Seagulls to get anything from the game. Arsenal have won their last eight in the Premier League at the Emirates. However, after a slow start and a tough fixture list so far Everton at home is a game Hughton will want to take points from and West Ham are as fragile as Andy Carroll’s fitness.

They say timing is everything and the international week actually is timely as Glenn Murray can hopefully get up to speed and Izzy Brown will hopefully have gained some valuable game time.

Brown looked sharp in pre-season, he is desperate to fulfil his potential and is undoubtedly talented. One thing Hughton may have to pray for is that none of his other first team players suffer any other major injuries.

There is no obvious cover for Davy Propper and Dale Stephens in the centre of midfield with Beram Kayal and Steve Sidwell out and that would be a concern to me. There is back up in most other areas but the ever practical manager will assess every challenge as it arises.

It is inevitable that there will be some bumps in the road between now and May but Hughton will no doubt set the best course possible.

Johnny Cantor covers Brighton & Hove Albion as a commentator and reporter for BBC Sussex Sport. Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburger To read more by Johnny Cantor, visit www.johnnycantor.com

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