Chris Hughton's high flying birds getting promotion push back on track

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Mixed-race managers are hard to come by in English football.

Therefore, it is fitting that Chris Hughton is now flying high with the Seagulls after previous managerial spells with the Magpies and the Canaries.

Brighton started the season on a roll, going unbeaten for twenty-one Championship matches before being rocked by a 3-0 home defeat to promotion rivals Middlesbrough. That was followed by a winless winter streak that lasted for another five league games.


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The low point of that slump came in January away at Rotherham as a 2-0 defeat for the Seagulls extended their goal drought to six games and ensured that Hughton's side were without a win in eight games in all competitions.

However, that dip in form appeared to come to an end last Friday as Brighton strolled towards a third successive win, and their biggest win of the season, with a 3-0 home victory over Brentford.

The Brighton manager sagely admitted: “The lack of goals is a big worry at the minute, because it's impossible to win football matches unless you are scoring goals."

Hughton’s management career has had more twists and turns and up and downs than the roller-coaster at the end of Brighton Pier, but he keeps coming back for more.

After Newcastle’s relegation in 2008/09, Hughton led Newcastle back to the Premier League in his first season in charge in 2009/10. The following season he was controversially sacked in December 2010, with his side twelfth in the table.

Hughton had the blues and managed Birmingham City for a single season, leading them to fourth place in the Championship, before joining Norwich in the Premier League in June 2012.

Controversially again, he was sacked in April 2014 with the East of England side just above the relegation zone.

As for Brighton, automatic promotion has to be the aim as their play-off record is not good. The Seagulls are yet to get to Wembley and their last attempt in 2013 was marred by “poo-gate.”

Hughton’s cunning plan for automatic promotion is to persuade players to swoop down from the Premiership and drag Brighton back up.

In the transfer window, Albion added five players to their first team squad including Steve Sidwell from Stoke City joining the likes of Bobby Zamora.

The 30,750 capacity at the Amex Stadium is mainly season ticket holders, and now if a spectator sits in ‘Row Z’ and the ball hits his head, it’s definitely Zamora.

The England international is eager for Albion to continue their winning momentum after their recent rebound.

The veteran striker said: “No-one goes unbeaten all the way through the season because it’s a very tough league. But we need to keep knocking on the door and keep going.”

Sidwell believes there are strong parallels with the current Seagulls side and the Reading team that won promotion to the Premier League in 2006.

“We had a great team spirit [at Reading] and when I arrived at this club, I saw all of those similarities and characteristics with this group of lads.”

The 33-year-old adds that he “100% believes this club can gain promotion to the Premier League just by looking at the players.”

In the Premier League the Eagles are soaring and the Swans are treading water but will Hughton put the cat among the pigeons as the Seagulls flock into the top flight at the expense of the Magpies and Canaries?

Anything could happen.

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Brighton & Hove Albion
Bobby Zamora

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