The start of the 2016/17 Championship season is on the verge of commencement. The league has grown even stronger with the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle and Norwich joining the battle for top six.
The Seagulls won only two out of six friendly matches that they played in. A couple of 4-0 wins versus Oxford and Crawley were the highlights of a mixed pre-season campaign. Defeats at the hands of Fulham, Stevenage, Luton, and Italian Giants, Lazio has resulted in a few worried murmurs from Albion fans. However, it is key to remember pre-season is all about getting match fitness and giving youngsters a chance to impress the senior coaching staff.
Brighton have brought in a wealth of experience with the likes of Steve Sidwell and Glenn Murray. Albion’s biggest signing comes in the form of Northern Ireland international, Oliver Norwood. Chris Hughton will have four quality players to battle for the central midfield position (granted that Dale Stephens stays) . More transfer activity looks to be on the cards due to a shortage in centre-backs. Brighton will also be looking for a another striker who offers more mobility than the likes of Hemed and Murray. If Hughton is able to keep the likes of Lewis Dunk, Anthony Knockaert, Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens – top six will definitely be the minimum expectation of the squad.
Derby County won four of their five pre-season friendlies. Their only defeat came to Portuguese giants, Benfica (4-0). The Rams have yet to sign anyone yet. However the appointment of Nigel Pearson will reassure fans. An experienced manager who knows how to get out of the Championship. It is easy to forget that he was the man who laid the foundations for the same Leicester team that won the Premier League last season.
Last time out:
Brighton rescued a late draw against the Rams through Manchester United loanee, James Wilson. The fixture at the iPro Stadium also ended in a draw.
Darren Bent and Bradley Johnson. Both players have graced the blue and white stripes as loan signings.
Fact of the day:
Derby have not lost a season-opening game since 2008, winning four and drawing three of their last seven.
We are looking forward to…
A close and tough match between two teams who will eyeing up at least top six this season. A win today will be a massive morale boost for players and fans for both teams.
One of Brighton’s tougher season openers. A win would be pivotal and a great morale booster for both sides. Derby have appointed a great manager in Nigel Pearson. However he is yet to make any signings and start to assemble his own mould of the squad. In my opinion, it will be a very tight encounter. Both teams wil want a good run to start the season and losing a game like this could prove detrimental come the end of the season (as proven by last season – every point counts!). I can see both sides cancelling each other out. 1-1 for me.
Score prediction: 1-1
BHAFC: Glenn Murray
Derby: Chris Martin
By George Carden