With no victories in their last eight meetings against Huddersfield Town, Brighton & Hove Albion could be forgiven for approaching today’s trip to West Yorkshire with a degree of apprehension.
A 7-1 mauling suffered in 2009 stands out among that sorry tale for the Seagulls, while even in the 2010-11 season when Gus Poyet’s side clinched the League One title they still lost twice against the Yorkshire club.
As damning as those recent statistics are, however, Town manager Simon Grayson is calling for patience from his side ahead of what he expects to be a stern test against the south coast club.
He said: “Brighton are good at retaining possession and playing through the defence. We are a little bit more direct in our play.
“The players will have to be patient and the supporters will also have to be, because that is the way they play. We have got to make sure that we make an impact on them when we have the ball because they will have large spells with it.
“Anyone that has seen them play under Gus Poyet over the last couple of years will know exactly what his philosophy is and what he is all about. He likes the ball to be played down on the deck and in the right manner and they will build from the back.”
Grayson will again be without loan striker James Vaughan due to a troublesome thigh injury, while Jermaine Beckford – withdrawn as a precaution with a hamstring injury after scoring the winner last Saturday at Barnsley – is also a doubt as Town look to strengthen their hold on a play-off place.
He said: “James’s thigh isn’t making the progress that we would like at this moment in time.
“He is going for another scan on Monday to see how it is settling down. It is a blow, but that is why we have got other options available to us.
“I don’t want to say how long he will be out for because he could be out for longer than we are saying. Or shorter. But we are being cautious.”
On Beckford, Grayson added: “He will be touch and go, though he is still feeling sore.”