Brighton welcome Newcastle as fight for survival intensifies

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In a must-win game in their battle to remain in the top-flight, Brighton host Newcastle United at the AMEX.

A win for the Seagulls and other results going in their favour would secure Chris Hughton’s side their third successive season in the Premier League.

Newcastle won both of their last two matches against Southampton and Leicester City to go a whole ten points off of Cardiff City in the relegation zone. Brighton, however, are only three points ahead of the Welsh side and a loss could see their rivals go equal with them with two matches to play.

The last time the two sides met was back in October at St James’ Park when a Beram Kayal goal on 29 minutes secured a 1-0 win for Brighton. That win is one of only nine wins in the league for Hughton’s men.

Brighton have failed to win any of their last seven matches conceding two or more against Chelsea, Bournemouth and even relegation battling Cardiff.

Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle have had a fairly successful last six games as the Magpies secured top-flight status by securing ten of 18 available. The wins which were against Southampton (3-1), Leicester City (1-0) and Everton (3-2) have shown the clubs spirit in tough circumstances.

Chris Hughton demanded that his players stand up to the challenging of battling relegation following their defeat to Tottenham midweek:

“I think we need to go into every game, every moment, every training day as confident as we can.

“But knowing that it is a challenge. Whenever you have that type of a challenge you look for people around you, look for players to stand up to that challenge.

“Certainly in the last couple of games I don’t think anybody could fault the endeavour from the team or a desperation to make sure we stay in this division.”

Rafa Benitez only had eyes on the future despite this upcoming tie:

“It is important to do business early. You can talk to different players in different leagues.

“Sometimes you have to wait. We just have to make sure we do things we want to do.

“In terms of my future you know what my answer, is we have to wait. For us the main thing is to concentrate on the games. If we have any news you will know.

“We have had conversations, sometimes Lee Charnley comes with us to the games. We can talk about serious things.”

Visiting manager Benitez will have a limited number of players to select from for this match as the Spaniard could have as many as four players missing.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles was confirmed to be ruled out the tie with a stomach bug, while Sean Longstaff and Florian Lejeune have long term injuries.

New signing Miguel Almiron has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season, which could be good news for Christian Atsu who could make his first start since February. Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden are both fit after recovering from minor injuries.

Glenn Murray leads the scoring charts for the hosts with 13 in 39 matches in all competitions, his last goal coming in their last league win over Crystal Palace.

While Anthony Knockaert is back following his three-game suspension, Davy Propper has again been sidelined with a hamstring problem which saw the midfielder miss the last match.

Winger Knockaert has created the most goals for his side providing seven assists this season which is equalled by Newcastle’s best provider Matt Ritchie.

After a recent resurgence, Ayoze Perez is now the top scorer this campaign for the Magpies with 11 goals in 38 games, one more than Salomon Rondon. He overtook the other striker with a hat-trick in the last game.

With Newcastle now knowing their Premier League status is secured, Chris Hughton’s Brighton will attempt to capitalise by gaining an invaluable win in their fight for survival.

Brighton and Hove Albion

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News writer for Prost International, I get out to games but mainly cover EFL and women's football. Found here: https://twitter.com/BrandonPrangell

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