Match preview: Brighton vs Cardiff City

Swaggering Spaniard Vicente is expected to return to the Albion starting line-up tonight – much to the relief of what will likely be a record crowd at the Amex.

The former Valencia winger was conspicuous by his absence as the Seagulls slumped to an unlucky opening day defeat at the KC Stadium on Saturday. Manager Gus Poyet later revealed his talisman had suffered a slight niggle in the week but would return to face Cardiff.

Tonight’s match does look like coming too soon for flying winger William Buckley who should be back in time to play against Barnsley on Saturday – who will be missing former Seagull Jim McNulty when they head south. The one time Albion left back is out for at least a fortnight after suffering an injury days before the Tykes first game.

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Poyet is expected to stick with the same back four and goalkeeper as Saturday, meaning Adam El Abd will most likely be preferred to Lewis Dunk, who started the disappointing defeat at Swindon in the Capital One Cup.

That means a third game in a row for new right back Bruno. The rampaging Spaniard has shown a willingness to get forward down the flanks and Poyet will have to be mindful of the threat posed by Craig Bellamy. The Welshman likes to drift out to the left to collect the ball, which was a similar position from which Brighton leaked the decisive goal on Saturday.

It is not clear who will make way for Vicente is he is declared fit, although Gary Dicker and Ashley Barnes would appear the more obvious starters to drop to the bench.

Kazenga Lua Lua is pushing for a starting place after impressing off the bench at the weekend and Poyet will need his charges to be better going forward than they have been so far this season. The Albion have failed to find the net in both their games and are without a league win in nine games, stretching back to a home victory over Derby on March 20.

On the plus side, Brighton have not failed to register a league point from their first two games since 2004.

For Cardiff, who won their opening fixture 1v0, midfielder Stephen McPhail may return after recovering from a hamstring problem in what is their only slight injury concern.

For our Albion morning after verdict, visit this website tomorrow.