Tuesday, February 10, 2009



We have had some pretty freakish weather in the UK since the turn of the year and there is little doubt that home teams have a considerable advantage in the conditions. Not only do they know exactly what to expect underfoot, but most visitors are leaving the journey until the last possible minute and are sometimes making very difficult trips on the afternoon of games.


Hosts are an ambitious team, ambition which has been stifled by playing far too long in a temporary stadium, one that is not big enough for their large catchment of fans. That is set to change, with a 23,000 seater new stadium due to open in two years time and now they are looking to get things right on the pitch and planning a big run at the Championship next season.

You can forget their current league position to a certain degree, they are much better than that would suggest and have added substantially to the squad in recent weeks. Signing Oldham striker Craig Davies, who scored 6 in 13 loan starts for StockportCounty earlier this season and Jim McNulty, a left back, also from County for £150k, a big money deal for a "struggling " Division 1 team. Both players choose Albion, ahead of some more attractive looking and higher level options and I would like to believe that, it was not purely a financial decision.

In addition, Calvin Andrew a promising striker from Crystal Palace, who impressed at this level last season and Seb Carole, who has had spells at Leeds, West Ham and Monaco, have signed on season long loans. Carole returns after playing some 40 games here a few seasons back and will go straight into the team, along with the two permanent signings. Andrew , despite scoring the winner over Hartlepool on his debut, will have to start on the bench, as there is now terrific competition for places upfront, as the home side also have prolific goalscorer and former Brentford hero Nicky Forster in their line up.

The win over Pool took them out of the drop zone and came on the heels of a fine 0-0 draw at runaway league leaders Leicester City, who had won 12 from 13 before that. That makes four unbeaten for the hosts and they should soon be well clear of trouble and can start planning and building for next season. They have not had the greatest luck in front of goal this season and have hit the woodwork nineteen times, a Football League high total, these things have a habit of evening out over a full season, so look out for a few going in off the post !

Visitors are a very decent team and have their eyes on a big promotion push this season, but they have gone off the boil a little recently, with just two wins, both of which were "laboured" and came against struggling teams, from seven starts in 2009. They have won just four of 14 away league starts, just one of their last five. I am more than happy with the hosts getting a handicap start.

6.5 points Brighton +1/4 ball 1.92 asian line.

Good Luck.

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