Seagulls start life after Sami this afternoon

Nathan Jones takes charge this afternoon.

The post-Sami Hyypia era at the Amex gets underway today (Friday) with the visit of another team who have recently parted company with their manager.

Reading replaced Nigel Adkins with Steve Clarke earlier this month after an embarrassing 6-1 defeat at Birmingham City.

That the Royals acted earlier than Brighton despite, at the time, being seven points better off than the Seagulls caused grumbles of discontent among some sections of the Albion faithful who felt Hyypia should have been shown the door earlier.

As it turned out, the former Liverpool defender took the decision out of the hands of the Brighton board by resigning in the aftermath of the hard-fought 1-1 draw with Wolves last weekend.

Nathan Jones, his assistant, will be in charge for today’s game with Tony Bloom et al no doubt working overtime to identity, interview and recruit a long-term replacement for the departed Finn.

Jones has worked closely with both Hyypia and his predecessor, Oscar Garcia, and has occasionally fallen foul of criticism from the stands regarding his role - from people who, it has to be said, have presumably never seen him take a training session. He is, however, a highly-regarded coach and represents a relatively safe pair of hands to help see the Seagulls through to the New Year.

His team selection is going to be difficult to second-guess and longer term the change in manager could breathe new life into the Albion careers of players like Kemy Agustien, Nzuzi Toko and Craig Mackail-Smith, who Jones recalled earlier from his loan spell at Peterborough United.

Jones will, however, still have to negotiate the squad’s current over-reliance on loan players which has seen Hyypia shuffle the pack on a weekly basis in order to keep all six loan players happy.

Only five can be selected for any given fixture and recently it has been a guessing game among fans as to who misses out.

Darren Bent, signed initially on month-long deal, has said this week he would happily remain at the Albion beyond the December 29 cut-off date for his current deal and will lead the line today hoping to add to his two goals.

That leaves Jones having to pick four from Joe Bennett, Elliott Bennett, Gary Gardner, Greg Halford and Joao Teixeira. If all are fit it will presumably be between Teixeira and Gardner as to who misses out, with the later having dropped to the bench for the draw at Wolves.

Gordon Greer is unlikely to play again until next month, meaning Lewis Dunk and Halford are likely to continue to play in central defence – with both impressing last time out.

Inigo Calderon will continue at right back with Bruno starting his suspension following the red card given for his ill-judged tackle at Molineux.

LIKELY LINE-UP: Stockdale, Calderon, Halford, Dunk, J. Bennett, Holla, Ince, Forster-Caskey, E. Bennett, March, Bent.

LIKELY SUBS: Walton, Hughes, Chicksen, Gardner, Agustien, McCourt, Colunga.