The next three games could define a season

Of course, it was going to be a big night.

Of course, it was going to be a big night: a huge crowd, an historic stadium, and the chance to create history by reaching the League Cup quarter-finals for only the second time.

The next three games, however, could well define Brighton and Hove Albion's season, not a trip to the Lane. There were plenty of positives in the defeat to Spurs, but the Seagulls must perform over the next eight days if they are to resurrect their season.

On paper, the first game at Bournemouth appears to be the biggest challenge. The Cherries hit eight goals against Birmingham last weekend and in mid-week wrote a new chapter in their history by beating West Bromwich Albion. Eddie Howe's side really are on fire. In fact, it would be no disgrace to come away from Dean Court with a point.

Draws, however, are just not good enough.

Sami Hyypia's side must surely pick up a victory in either of the home games against Wigan or Blackburn. If not the consequences could be dire for both the club and the manager.

Chairman Tony Bloom will no doubt be concerned about the league position going into the next international break, but the long-term ramifications of a relegation battle are not something he would want to entertain after two play-off finishes.

Additional players are being sought and a proven striker would be top of the shopping list. But if results do not improve he may well look at major surgery both on and off the pitch.

A change of fortune may be required, with one moment of luck to turn things around, but to achieve longer-term objectives, he may need to keep his nerve - something, thankfully, for supporters, he is very good at.