Brighton boss Chris Hughton says victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Norwich City at the Amex tomorrow will be a big boost for his side.
Albion entertain highly-fancied Canaries on the back of a 1-0 win at Wigan last Saturday, which took their Championship unbeaten run to eight games.
Having not beaten promoted teams Middlesbrough or Burnley at home last season, Hughton believes victory could be crucial for his team, who currently sit second in the table.
He said: “They (Norwich) are a team in and around us, if we are not to win the game it’s points that they get.
“It does have an extra meaning, I said the same when we played at home to Huddersfield and of course with the supporters it has that little extra edge.
“Any win against that level of team in this division will be a big boost.”
Hughton spent two years in charge at Norwich, guiding them to an 11th-placed finish in the Premier League in his first season.
Looking back, he felt it was an enjoyable time in his managerial career and said: “I had two seasons with them, certainly the second was more difficult than the first season. I look back very fondly on my time with them and it was a very good experience.”
Dale Stephens got the winning goal after coming off the bench at the Latics last Saturday. Hughton admits the midfielder is pushing for a starting place in tomorrow’s crunch clash and added: “He’s been very close over the last few weeks but a couple of little niggles have set him back slightly. Dale is very much focused, ready and pushing for a place on Saturday.”
Midfielder Steve Sidwell, who is chasing a five consecutive Championship start for Albion, believes it could well be a crucial game come the end of the season.
He said: “It’s a home game and we want to win all of those. If anyone is to come and take any points off of us they have got to earn it, we don’t want to be giving anyone easy games.
“People are saying that Norwich and Newcastle are favourites to go up and I think that is right.
“If we want to be challenging for that we want to be taking points off teams around us.”
Lewis Dunk is back and available after serving a one-match ban for the clash with Wigan last weekend.
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