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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | BRIGHTON V TOWN

14 February 2017

Blues midfielder, Ward looks ahead to tonight's trip to the Amex

Grant Ward believes Town have looked like a much better side in recent games, and that confidence can be taken from the recent win over Aston Villa.

The former Tottenham man played in a midfield three alongside Toumani Diagouraga and Emyr Huws on Saturday, and he credits some of the improvement in play to the new faces at Portman Road.

"We've got a big squad, people coming back, and new faces coming in so they're all adding to the team," he told Ipswich Player HD.

"Emz and Toums have been real assets for us in the middle. They're good ball players and they're not afraid to do the work as well, so I'm really happy for Emz to get his first goal.

"It was a massive three points. They're a good side, and it was a tough game but we got a result out of it which is good for our confidence to move on from.

"Even before then, the last few games we might not have got the wins we probably could have against Preston and Reading as well.

"We've come a long way from those games, and we're looking a better side."


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Team News

Town

The Blues will be without the experienced trio of Cole Skuse, Christophe Berra and Steven Taylor with all three struggling with injuries. The latter two were taken off during Saturday's win at Aston Villa with head and hamstring knocks respectively. Cole, on the other hand, missed the trip to the Midlands at the weekend having limped off in the 2-2 draw with Reading at Portman Road with an achilles injury, and is still not fit to return. Tommy Smith and Luke Hyam both played for the U23s on Monday in a 0-0 draw with West Brom, but won't be travelling as part of the squad to the Amex. Jonny Williams (shoulder), Giles Coke (knee) and Dominic Samuel (toe) are also sidelined.


Brighton

The Seagulls have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Town, and are likely to stick with the same side that beat Burton 4-1 on Saturday. Anthony Knockaert suffered an ankle knock at the start of the win against the Brewers, but came through 90 minutes and is fit to play. Liam Rosenior played for Brighton's U23s on Monday following four months out, but won't be fit to return to the first-team fold and Gaetan Bong also remains out.

Where They Stand

Town: 13th
Brighton: 2nd

Last Time They Met

It was goalless at Portman Road when the two teams last met back in September, with the Seagulls finishing the game with ten men following the late dismissal of Dale Stephens. Jonathan Douglas had the ball in the net for the Blues in the first-half, but it was ruled out for offside in a game that produced very little in terms of clear-cut chances. Brighton defender, Shane Duffy came the closest for the visitors, but failed to keep his shot down from close range. Stephens was given his marching orders with less than ten minutes left on the clock for a late tackle on Douglas, as the game ended as a stalemate.


Key Players

Luke Chambers

With injuries to Christophe Berra and Steven Taylor, the skipper will likely be the defender with the most experience in what may well be the same back five that played the second-half in the win at Villa on Saturday. In that game, he played alongside Jordan Spence and Jonas Knudsen, with Josh Emmanuel and Myles Kenlock on either side as wing-backs, and Luke was at his best in the heart of it as Town kept a first clean-sheet since November.

Anthony Knockaert

The Frenchman has impressed since returning to English football following  a spell in Belgium with Standard Liege and is into double figures for league goals this season so far. He has scored ten goals including a double in the recent 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at the AMEX and has set up a further five goals. He has plenty of options up front to provide for, with Glenn Murray, Sam Baldock and Tomer Hemed all scoring goals, so his pace, delivery and trickery will be something to watch out for this evening.

Sky Bet Odds

Town: 15/2
Draw: 3/1
Brighton: 4/9

Match Officials

Referee: Roger East
Assistant Referees: Simon Beck & Derek Eaton
Fourth Official: Andy Davies



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