Brighton boss Chris Hughton reveals the target he thinks Newcastle United and the other promotion chasers must reach to secure Premier League football
Brighton boss Chris Hughton thinks to reach the Premier League promised land his side must break the 90-point barrier.
Although the manager, who guided Newcastle United back to the top flight in 2009/10, is refusing to set his players any specific points targets as they battle the Rafa Benitez's men and latecomers to the promotion party Huddersfield Town for two automatic spaces at the top of the Championship standings.
Last season the Seagulls came agonisingly close to securing top flight football.
A last day draw at Middlesbrough, one place above them, meant they missed out on promotion on goal difference to Aitor Karanka's men, with Burnley winning the division.
Subsequently, Hughton & Co flopped in the play-offs, losing a two-legged tie 3-1 on aggregate to Sheffield Wednesday, who then went on to lose the final to a Mo Diame-inspired Hull City.
Last season Brighton mustered 89 points.
This time, though, Hughton thinks his side, who sit level on points with the Magpies at the second tier summit, will have to better that in order to avoid the end of season lottery of the play-offs.
"We got 89 points last season and normally that’s enough for automatic, I think it’s probably going to be more than that," Hughton told the West Sussex Gazette.
"But setting a points target? No. I could tell you one now and it could be completely different."
While Newcastle are the team at the top of the pile, they are not a side name-checked by the former United man in a list of teams he says he has been impressed with this campaign.
"Derby, Villa and Norwich, they are three clubs that everybody expected to be in the top six - I think we have all probably benefited," he said of the trio's struggles.
"For the teams up there, to be ahead of the three I have mentioned, they have really had to up their game.
"I have been really impressed by some sides, Huddersfield, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds have been strong this season."
Huddersfield Town boss and prmotion rival David Wagner recently hinted that Brighton have a history of choking when the going gets tough at the top.
But this is something that Hughton refutes.
"We have here is a very good and competitive group of players," he said.
"People will always put their take on losing a game, the word choking and so on.
"I never see it that way. This is always such a competitive league and you cannot win all of your games.
“There will be some games where you reach your levels, others that you can’t.
"Thankfully for us, on more occasions than not, we have reached very good levels this season.
"As regards to what the players put into every game, mentally they are in a very good position in the large majority of the games they play. It’s more about the competition levels than choking."