The inside track on Brighton's tactics, team news and injury latest on key defender ahead of crunch Newcastle United game
Newcastle United face Brighton and Hove Albion this evening with their Premier League status well and truly on the line.
For Magpies supporters, it feels like a must-win at the Amex Stadium, given just one point separates the two teams in the table.
Losing really isn’t an option for Steve Bruce’s side, otherwise the prospect of relegation could soon be a reality.
To get the lowdown on tonight’s opponent, we caught with Derren Howard, who covers the club for the Brighton and Hove Independent.
How do you assess Brighton and Hove Albion's season under Graham Potter so far?
DH: "The style of football has been good and when it clicks into place, Brighton are a match for any team in the Premier League. They have lacked a cutting edge but they have also consistently leaked soft goals and that's why they are in a vulnerable position. But overall you can see the progress being made by Potter and If Brighton had a Danny Ings or a Callum Wilson up front, things may be very different. Injuries to their first choice wing backs Tariq Lamptey and Solly March has also been a blow.”
Are Brighton and Hove Albion fans confident of beating Newcastle United, despite their poor home form?
DH: “It's been such an abnormal season for all at Brighton, I don't think fans quite know what to expect. Their home form has been abysmal but the Southampton result last weekend will give them optimism. Potter's men often struggle against well organised and defensive-minded teams who sit back and soak up pressure. They have lost to West Brom away, while at the Amex they lost to Crystal Palace and have failed to beat Sheffield United, Burnley and Fulham at the Amex.”
Is there a genuine belief that Brighton and Hove Albion will avoid relegation from the Premier League status?
DH: “I think the majority feel Brighton should have just enough to steer clear of trouble and I tend to agree with that. Sheffield United and West Brom appear doomed and while Fulham have improved of late, I don't think they score enough goals to claw their way out. It could well be close though and a nervy finale for Albion and Newcastle.
Do you expect Graham Potter to adopt similar tactics with Andi Zeqiri at left-wing back - or could Dan Burn return?
DH: “Dan Burn is making progress after tweaking his hamstring during the 2-1 win at Southampton. The defender, who hails from Blyth, has not yet been ruled out and Graham Potter will leave it as late as possible before making a final call. Inexperienced striker Andi Zeqiri did well in the second half at St Mary's as a makeshift wing-back and could well be an option if Burn fails to recover in time.”
How do you expect Brighton and Hove Albion to line-up against Newcastle United?
DH: “Could well be a 4-3-3: Sanchez; Veltman, White, Dunk, Burn; Bissouma, Gross, Lallana; Trossard, Maupay, Welbeck.”
Which Brighton and Hove Albion player should Newcastle be fearful of, i.e. the dangerman?
DH: “Adam Lallana has been excellent in the last two matches. He scored against Leicester and then dictated play at Southampton from a slightly deeper position. His vision and passing ability remains top class. Look out for Lewis Dunk from set-pieces too...the defender has four goals this season.
Can we push you for a score prediction?
DH: “Hard to call this one but I'll go for a narrow 2-1 win for Albion.”