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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Blackburn Rovers

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday afternoon's Championship clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Blackburn Rovers at The Amex.

A side without a win to their name this season travel to take on a team without a defeat when Blackburn Rovers face Brighton & Hove Albion at The Amex.

It has been a slow start for Saturday afternoon's visitors, but an upturn in fortunes appears to be on the cards following back-to-back draws.


Brighton & Hove Albion

Kazenga LuaLua of Brighton celebrates after scoring the first goal of the season during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest at Amex Stadium on August 7, 2015© Getty Images

While being held by Huddersfield Town is not the greatest result for a Brighton side with one eye on promotion, an otherwise perfect start to the campaign provides plenty of promise.

Victories over Nottingham Forest and Fulham in the league, on top of a League Cup win against Southend United, left Chris Hughton's men flying high.

Even the 1-1 draw at the John Smith's Stadium could not prevent Albion from remaining among the division's top-three sides, as some early talk of struggling this campaign was quickly brushed aside.

It is still early days, of course, and all three of those aforementioned victories did come by a one-goal margin, but Hughton will certainly be happy with where his side are at this moment in time.

The Brighton boss admitted on the back of the midweek fixture that his side had failed to maintain the standards set across the opening week of the season, with a point apiece a fair outcome in the end.

With a little under a fortnight of the transfer window still to go, a lot of talk still surrounds certain key figures in the Brighton squad, with Dale Stephens and Lewis Dunk strongly tipped with moves away.

Widespread reports suggest that the South Coast club have now rejected another bid from Fulham for centre-back Dunk, while the loss of Stephens will also be a considerable blow following his impressive link-up with Beram Kayal through the middle.

For the time being, Hughton must simply get on with the playing side of things as the transfer activity continues around him, using the Seagulls' strong start to the campaign to potentially help keep hold of any want-away players.

Recent form (all competitions): WWWD


Blackburn Rovers

Manager of Blackburn Rovers Gary Bowyer looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Derby County at Ewood Park on September 17, 2014© Getty Images

Blackburn have a different type of transfer problem on their hands entirely, meanwhile, as manager Gary Bowyer continues to battle against an embargo imposed on his side.

Fode Koita, Modou Barrow, Danny Guthrie and Hope Akpan are among those to have joined Rovers so far this summer on free deals and loans, while Nicky Maynard and Jobi McAnuff could also be next on the list.

Bowyer has also had to contend with the loss of Rudy Gestede, a player who was signed for next to nothing and sold on for a mammoth profit to help with the club's financial issues.

The future of Jordan Rhodes does not look quite so clear, on the other hand, with the prolific marksman currently battling to shake off an injury problem which has restricted his start to the season.

A hugely disappointing start to the campaign for Rovers in general, in which they lost their opener to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a controversial manner and lost to lower-league opposition in the League Cup, has since made way for more promising results.

Nathan Delfouneso, who looks likely to be another shrewd purchase, found the net against Huddersfield Town to get Rovers off the mark for the campaign, before earning a battling 1-1 draw against Cardiff City last time out.

The spirit shown by the Blue and Whites in that one, wrestling control of the ball away from their opponents and rescuing a last-gasp point, should stand them in good stead for the remainder of the campaign.

Blackburn's away form has also been promising of late, going nine without defeat, but they must now step things up a notch if they are to pick up a first win of 2015-16 at The Amex.

Recent form (all competitions): LLDD


Team News

Jordan Rhodes of Blackburn Rovers celebrates his goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn Rovers and Burnley at Ewood Park on March 9, 2014© Getty Images

Blackburn striker Rhodes is still an injury doubt due to the knock picked up against former club Huddersfield, which also forced him to sit out the game against Cardiff.

Should he miss out, it will be the first time in his Rovers career that he has missed two league games in succession, while Chris Taylor (groin) and Chris Brown (knee) are definitely out.

There is some better news for the Blue and Whites, though, as Fode Koita has overcome an injury problem of his own and Corry Evans is also in line to return.

With transfer talk surrounding the future of Dunk still ongoing, he may miss out on a place in the starting XI once more for the visit of Blackburn.

Brighton have bolstered their ranks with the addition of Connor Goldson, and he can provide some additional cover from the bench should he be needed.

Further forward, Sam Baldock and summer signing Tomer Hemed are likely to be given the nod to resume their partnership as Brighton aim to maintain their unbeaten start.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Stockdale; Bruno, Greer, Hunemeier, Bong; Murphy, Kayal, Stephens, LuaLua; Baldock, Hemed

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Raya; Henley, Duffy, Hanley, Spurr; Marshall, Guthrie, Akpan, Conway; Delfouneso, Koita


Head To Head

The Seagulls are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Blackburn, winning two and drawing four of those games.

Rovers have recorded just one clean sheet in their last seven visits to Brighton, but Hughton's charges have only scored one goal in their last five home outings.

Matt Kilgallon's first-half own goal was enough to secure victory for Brighton when the sides last faced off earlier this year, while they played out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.


Video Preview

Hit play below to see what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about this encounter:



Sports Mole Logo

We say: Brighton 1-1 Blackburn

Blackburn may still be seeking a first win of the season, though they have shown in their last two outings that they have the right spirit to plug away and earn the odd point. Bowyer's men must get off the mark soon, but they will be made to wait on Saturday after picking up a third 1-1 draw on the bounce.


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Who will win Saturday's Championship clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Blackburn Rovers?

Brighton & Hove Albion
Draw
Blackburn Rovers
Brighton & Hove Albion
62.2%
Draw
17.8%
Blackburn Rovers
20.0%
A general view of a corner flag before the Pre Season Friendly match between Blackburn Rovers and Everton FC at Ewood Park on July 27, 2013
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