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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Blackburn Rovers

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between Brighton and Blackburn at the Amex Stadium.

The relief around the Amex Stadium when the final whistle was blown to signal Brighton & Hove Albion's first victory in 12 league games this Tuesday was palpable.

The Seagulls took the lead inside the opening minute against Wigan Athletic, and managed to hold out for a pressure-relieving victory that prevented them from dropping into the relegation zone.

Manager Sami Hyypia has found things difficult at the club so far, but he will be hoping to build on that result when his side host Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

A surprise victory for Birmingham City and a point for Fulham has ensured that those below the Seagulls have not fallen any further behind, and once again they find themselves faced with the prospect of potentially dropping into the bottom three if they fail to pick up maximum points.

Winning is not something they have found easy in front of their own fans either. The victory over Wigan was just their second at home in the league all season, while only three teams have picked up fewer home points in the Championship.

Aaron Hughes remains sidelined for the home side this weekend, while loanee Greg Halford is pushing for a start having made his club debut off the bench on Tuesday.

However, Hyypia could opt to reward his side with an unchanged lineup, which would see Sam Baldock once again lead the line for a Brighton side who were expected to be challenging for the top six again this season.

Blackburn were another side labelled as playoff contenders, and so far they have lived up to the billing, sitting just one point off the top six after 16 matches.

Consistency has been the major issue for Gary Bowyer's side in recent seasons, but they appear to finally be finding some with a run of six matches unbeaten.

However, Tuesday's game against Millwall may well have felt like a defeat as Ian Holloway's 10 men came back from 2-0 down to rescue a point with an 88th-minute equaliser at The Den.

That strike prevented Rovers from climbing into the playoff places, but should results go their way then they could end the weekend in the top six.

Bowyer will be fairly pleased with their form on the road too, having lost just one of their last five away matches in the league.

The visitors will be without Jason Lowe, Chris Brown, Tommy Spurr and Josh King, all of whom should be nearing returns after the international break, while Lee Williamson will have a late fitness test. Ben Marshall is available, however, and Bowyer has confirmed that the in-form winger will start once again.

Recent form

Brighton: WLLDDL

Blackburn: DWWWDD

Possible starting lineups

Brighton: Walton; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Bennett; Forster-Caskey, Gardner, Bennett, Teixeira, Lua Lua; Baldock

Blackburn: Steele; Baptiste, Hanley, Duffy, Olsson; Cairney, Evans, Williamson, Marshall; Gestede, Rhodes

Sports Mole says: 1-1


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Rudy Gestede of Blackburn Rovers celebrates scoring the first goal for Blackburn during the Sky Bet Championship match against Charlton on April 24, 2014
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