We'll have to tough out difficult times to stay up - Hughton

Albion boss Chris Hughton says his side will have to see out some difficult times to try to become an established Premier League club.

Thursday, 18th May 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:13 am
Chris Hughton. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

The Seagulls' preparations for their first season in the top flight of English football for 34 years are already well underway. At a cost of £5m, work is taking place to upgrade the Amex and get everything in place for Premier League football next year.

On the pitch, Hughton knows wins against teams around the middle to bottom end of the table next season will be vital.

In the Premier League this season, just 11 points separate West Brom in ninth to third-from-bottom Hull City.

Burnley are the only team promoted from the Championship last season to stay up, with Middlesbrough and Hull both dropping straight back down, so Hughton knows the task ahead.

Who Albion sign in the summer will be important for their survival hopes and when asked about teams going up - and staying up - Albion's boss said: "We speak about Burnley and Bournemouth, because they are recent. But you've only got to look at Crystal Palace, Watford, Leicester a few years ago, and going back further Stoke and West Brom.

"They have toughed out difficult times to become mainstays in the division and that's the challenge."

On targeting certain matches where wins are crucial, Hughton said: "There is no doubt that for any team going from the Championship to the Premier League, you have got to win the games around you, against teams that are recently promoted.

"You know wins against (Manchester) United and Arsenal and Chelsea are very difficult to come by.

"It doesn't mean you can't deal with them but the law of averages say the way you are going to stay in the Premier League is by winning the games against the teams that are around you."

The fixtures for next season are released on June 14 and Hughton is hoping the start will not be too daunting.

He said: “The supporters will be looking forward to it more than me. It’s a massive day for them, they’ve got to map out some of the stadia where perhaps they’ve not been before.

“They’ll be really looking forward to going to your Old Traffords, Emirates and so and it will be wonderful for them. I just hope it’s a fairly even fixture list and I certainly hope it’s not too harsh to start.”

In the meantime, Hughton is looking forward to having a much-needed break after a gruelling Championship season: "It is important and I never mind admitting I need a break. It's a long, hard season in the Championship, a lot of games that are full on.

"I look forward to a nice break and coming back refreshed.

"I'm really excited for everybody at the club about next season."

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