Football – England – Championship
Saturday 9th February 2013 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Eighth placed Brighton take on Hull City who are level on points with second placed Leicester City as the automatic promotion race hots up and is now on the final straight.
Brighton themselves are not out of the hunt for a play-off place and they find themselves just five points adrift of Middlesbrough in sixth place who are on 47 points but have wobbled lately with some curious results. But this is now the part of the season where it begins to get very interesting and some surprising results are in store I’m sure; Brighton have actually won just twice in their last ten Championship matches as they start to feel the pressure mounting.
Defeats to Crystal Palace, Watford and most surprisingly of all, Sheffield Wednesday last weekend has meant that Gus Poyet’s men have still not broken into the play-off pack and draws against Charlton Athletic, Nottingham Forest, Millwall, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers, whilst still good results in their own right, just aren’t enough for The Seagulls right now.
Brighton’s home record stands at 5-6-3 20/13 and their main strike weapon is former Peterborough United striker Craig Mackail-Smith (11 goals) who is enjoying his best season since moving up into the Championship from League One, along with Buckley (5 goals, 5 assists), Orlandi (3 goals, 5 assists) and Bridcutt (5 assists). Ashley Barnes was sent off at Sheffield Wednesday so is unlikely to figure. Injury-riddled Matthew Upson has joined The Seagulls on loan from Stoke City but it remains to be seen how long he can stay fit.
Visitors Hull City have been in their usual solid form having lost just once in their last eleven league matches which was another surprise sprung by Sheffield Wednesday at the KC Stadium a couple of weeks ago. Aside from that temporary blip, Hull have recorded wins over Nottingham Forest, Watford, Huddersfield Town, Derby County, Leeds United and Millwall – whereas their opponents today, Brighton have been drawing against these sides, The Tigers have gone on to take all three points.
Away from home, Hull City’s away record stands at 8-3-4 19/17 and they’re unbeaten in their last seven on their travels with an additional win at Birmingham City and points taken at Blackpool and Peterborough United respectively.
Midfielder Robert Koren (7 goals, 5 assists) continues to pull the strings in the middle of the park, along with Simpson (5 goals, 7 assists), Meyler (4 goals) and El Mohamady (6 assists), they should have enough to avoid defeat at the Amex Stadium.
Brighton have drawn games recently where they might have won them earlier in the season, and I daresay Hull would settle for a point at Brighton this afternoon if they can’t actually win it. I’ll tip perhaps a 1-1 draw here, but Hull might just edge it 1-0.
Pick: Hull City AH+0.25 @ 1.88 bet365