Soccer: Improving Brighton's away form Hughton's toughest task
REUTERS - Picking up points on the road will be newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion's biggest challenge in the Premier League this season, manager Chris Hughton said ahead of Friday's trip to West Ham United.
Brighton have managed just one point away from home so far and have already tasted defeat three times on their travels. However, Hughton is hoping they can put on a better show at the London Stadium against a team just one place below them in the table.
Brighton are 14th on eight points with two wins, two draws and four losses, while West Ham are below them only on goal difference.
"Away form is going to be the most challenging," Hughton told a news conference on Thursday. "It's a game away from home, in a big stadium, and irrespective of league positions, we're up against a very talented team.
"We're a team that is having to get used to this division and the quality of it. They're a team that are around us at this moment in the league table and we're looking forward to it."
Hughton is less concerned about Brighton's home form, despite his team allowing Everton to snatch a 1-1 draw in their last league outing thanks to a late Wayne Rooney penalty.
"At home, we've acquitted ourselves well. We felt we should have won the game against Everton, but we've won two games at home, drawn one and put on a good show against Manchester City."
City's 2-0 victory in the opening game of the season is Brighton's only defeat at home so far, while West Ham have two wins and a defeat at the London Stadium but have also struggled on the road.
Hughton, who played for West Ham in the early 90s, expects his former club to bounce back as the season unfolds.
"They've experienced some difficulties, with the change from the old stadium to the new stadium, and players that they've brought in over the last few transfer windows," he added.
"But they've got a lot of quality there and I always feel that when West Ham have a difficult time, they will always come through it."
Hughton will take a late fitness call on Ireland international Shane Duffy, after the defender picked up a groin strain against Everton.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)