Johnny Cantor: The goalkeeping base is covered

Albion keeper David Stockdale. Photograph: Angela Brinkhurst
Albion keeper David Stockdale. Photograph: Angela Brinkhurst

There has been a clamour from some supporters for reinforcements in several areas.

I’m sure this week much of the focus on the Seagulls will be the lack of points from, and lack of goals in, the last seven Championship games.

Amongst the flurry of texts and tweets to BBC Sussex after the final whistle across the last few weeks there has been a clamour from some supporters for reinforcements in several areas.

Over nine hours without a goal may indeed highlight a need for a cutting-edge going forward and individual mistakes at the back are being punished.

One position, however, that seems to be covered is the goalkeeper. David Stockdale has been excellent this season and the glimpses we have seen of Christian Walton suggest a decent future.

One man who will be more frustrated by the Seagulls’ exit from the FA Cup than anyone is Niki Mäenpää. The bearded Finn made several decent saves against Hull City in the third round and in the brief League Cup campaign, in particular, at Southend United.

His game time would have increased with progress to the next round but the opportunities ahead in the league seem limited unless Stockdale were to get injured. Last season a broken finger to the Albion number one handed Walton a chance to shine in the high profile game at Spurs.

With constant rain over the past few weeks and the cold starting to kick in, it must be tough for Mäenpää to churn out the hours of specialist training with Ben Roberts and his team-mates like Casper Ankergren.

Goals are celebrated more than saves but Stockdale and Mäenpää deserve credit. The latter may need to bide his time to get his chance but as Chris Hughton looks to strengthen his squad for a renewed push for promotion he will at least be confident he has this base covered.

Just as a footnote, in a week with three away games at Hull, Rotherham and Blackburn all in an eight-day period, a message to all those that have travelled the miles, I salute you.

Chris Hughton ensured his players thanked the fans on Tuesday. He knows what it takes for the supporters to sacrifice their time and money.

He also knows he must turn things around if Albion are to stay at the centre of the promotion race.