Seagulls boss eyes new striker

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On the opening weekend of the season, Brighton supporters got to witness their first glimpse of the all-new 'Matt Sparrow Show'.

The box-to-box midfielder bagged two goals to secure an unlikely 2-1 victory at the home of fellow promotion candidates Swindon Town.

Since then, a Carling Cup defeat against League Two side Northampton Town, combined with an abundance of errors which eventually culminated in a 2-2 draw with relegation favourites Rochdale, has brought all the cynicism and bitterness rushing back to the Withdean.

Crashing out of the League Cup at the first stage has been the least of Albion’s woes. Not only have the club lost both Sparrow and Gordon Greer through suspension, but a scan has revealed that influential midfielder Alan Navarro could miss up to six months of the season after rupturing cruciate knee ligaments.

The Seagulls collected an astonishing ELEVEN red cards last season, suggesting a potential disciplinary problem that needs to be resolved.

Summer recruit Greer was first to fall foul of this record in the current campaign though, with a senseless sending off for a tussle with Rochdale’s Anthony Elding meaing the defender misses an astounding five of Albion’s first six games of the season through suspension alone.

Amidst all the doom and gloom however, Brighton still sit sixth in the league and Poyet has well and truly stamped his South American mark on the Seagulls.

He has transformed the side from League One long-ball specialists - under the previous management, to one of the most attractive sides to watch in the division.

Without trying to sound like a particular Take That song, things can only get better. With a few weeks remaining of the transfer window, Poyet has vowed to bring in some new faces to replenish the squad, with a striker believed to be at the top of the Uruguayan’s wish list.

The need to secure at least one 20-goal-a-season striker, to give Albion a good chance of finishing in the play-offs, has been made essential ever since the departure of last season’s top scorer Nicky Forster.

Poyet, his Argentinian assistant Mauricio Taricco and Spanish chief scout Zigor Aranalde may choose to unearth a striker from abroad, which could prove more cost-effective, but at the same time more of a gamble.

We have been fortunate at how quickly Inigo Calderon has settled, as not every player from overseas adapts as well as he has.

The on-going saga with Newcastle winger Kazenga LuaLua continues. The deal is hinging on whether the Premiership side complete the loan signing of either Hatem Ben Arfa or Tom Cleverly from Marseille and Manchester United respectively.

However, both chairman Tony Bloom and manager Poyet are confident they will conclude a deal for the Congolese midfielder, before the end of the transfer window.

Looking back, last season Brighton had gained one solitary point from Walsall at home and Brentford away, conceding 11 goals and having three men sent off in the process.

The team already have more points than after five games last year, so it shows just how far Brighton have come under the guidance of Bloom, Poyet and co.

This season, fans are quietly confident the side will sneak into sixth position, but ultimately fail in the play-offs. As it stands, we are too heavily reliant on goals from Glenn Murray, but the signing of a proven goal-scorer would alleviate some of that pressure.

The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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League One
Brighton & Hove Albion

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