Brighton team news ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup clash.
Chris Hughton will take charge of Brighton and Hove Albion for the first time tomorrow (Saturday) as the Albion take on high-flying Brentford in the FA Cup.
The former Norwich City manager, who is hugely-popular in footballing circles, has a strong record in the Championship and will expect to help the Seagulls pull clear of their current relegation worries but his attention must first fall on the FA Cup and the prospect of a money-spinning cup run.
His first team selection will no doubt be partly guided by Nathan Jones, who remains on the Albion coaching staff following his well-received two games as interim manager which saw the Seagulls collect four points from a possible six.
Hughton’s immediate job will be to piece together a starting 11 from the remnants of the Albion’s squad which has been over-reliant on loan signings in recent weeks but will have to do without an array of temporary signings who have since returned to their parent clubs.
His job will have been helped by the fact Greg Halford, who has been in impressive form of late, has rejoined the Seagulls on loan.
Darren Bent, however, has joined Derby County on loan from Aston Villa for the remainder of the season after his spell at the Amex ended with the one-time England international limping off after half an hour of the Boxing Day draw with Reading.
Fellow Aston Villa player Gary Gardner has also been recalled by his Premier League parent club and Elliott Bennett has returned to Norwich City from where he could join Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Joao Teixeira, who was in impressive form during the Albion’s 2-0 win at Craven Cottage, and Joe Bennett were signed as season long loans and are both available for selection this weekend.
Halford rejoined the Albion on loan today and will remain at the Amex until the end of the season, at which point his current deal at Nottingham Forest expires leaving him without a club. The imposing central defender should keep his place alongside Lewis Dunk at Brenford.
Supporters will be hoping Hughton saw how impressive the deep-sitting midfielder partnership of Rohan Ince and Danny Holla was during the win at Fulham in what was arguably the Albion’s best performance of what has been an albeit wretched start to the season.
Craig Mackail-Smith, recalled from his loan spell at Peterborough United by Jones, was in encouraging form in West London and should start upfront against Brenford while Solly March, a goal-scoring substitute on Monday night, will presumably come into the starting 11 in place of Elliott Bennett.
Gordon Greer is available for selection after a spell out on the sidelines but will probably be eased back into first team action via the bench.
Brentford will themselves be hopeful of a cup run. The Bees sit sixth in the Championship after an impressive start to life back in the second tier of English football. Should they select their first choice team, Brentford’s chief threat will come from nine-goal Andre Gray.
The Albion's hosts will be without new signing Lewis Macleod, who joined them from Rangers but is not yet eligible to play, and Alan McCormack and Scott Hogan, who are both injured.
The Bees have lost their last two league games but remain in sixth place in the Championship. They have, however, conceded the most goals of any team in the top half of the table.
Stand-out performers so far this season include former Albion transfer target Moses Odubajo, Alan Judge and Dean Harlee.
class="copy-paste-block">LIKELY LINE-UP: Stockdale, Calderon, Dunk, Halford, J. Bennett, Holla, Ince, Teixeira, March, Colunga, Mackail-Smith.
LIKELY SUBS: Walton, Hughes, Greer, Forster-Caskey, McCourt, Baldock, O’Grady.