It was a case of close but no cigar for Brighton & Hove Albion last season as they narrowly missed out on automatic promotion before being dumped out of the playoffs by sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday. Chris Hughton’s men had enjoyed a relatively successful campaign but fell just short against Middlesbrough on the final day.
But now, Brighton have the chance to go one better and make up for the disappointment of last season. At the time of writing, Betway are pricing the Seagulls at 12/1 to win the title in their football betting markets and Hughton’s side will fancy their chances after coming so close in the 2015/16 campaign.
While a number of loaned players have now returned to their respective parent clubs, the Brighton squad has mostly stayed the same. Although they missed out on promotion to the Premier League, Brighton still had a fantastic campaign – and you wouldn’t bet against them going one better this season.
The Seagulls are a force to be reckoned with, especially if Hughton can pick his squad up and motivate them to succeed after last year’s poor showing in the playoffs.
Brighton played admirably for most of the regular season but then failed to find their best form when it mattered most of all and they paid the ultimate price by missing out on promotion. They weren’t expected to finish in the top six last year so they did incredibly well but Hughton’s men will now expect to compete against the likes of Newcastle United and Derby County.
And while their squad hasn’t changed too much, Brighton have made a number of moves this summer to enhance competition for places in certain areas of the field. Albion have acquired Fleetwood Town full-back Tyler Hornby-Forbes and he is sure to push for a key role in Hughton’s starting line-up next season.
The 20-year-old is a competent defender but his attacking prowess will be crucial – and his two goals in 21 appearances will keep Hughton’s attention; especially if Brighton’s current wing-backs start the season slowly.
— BHAFC (@OfficialBHAFC) July 12, 2016
Furthermore, Glenn Murray has made a welcome return to the Amex Stadium and the former Bournemouth man will bring goals to a fairly weak attacking unit. Now that James Wilson has gone back to Manchester United, Hughton was lacking options upfront and Murray will give the Seagulls a much-needed goal threat.
If truth be told, Murray has the qualities needed to succeed at the top level but his inconsistencies hurt him during his time at Bournemouth. He will feel much more at home whilst playing for Brighton in the second tier of English football but will still try to lead the Seagulls to the Premier League.
With a couple more signings, the Seagulls will be right up there with the best teams in the Championship next season and you’d have to fancy Hughton’s men to bounce back and reach the playoffs at the very least.
Albion aren’t the complete package by any stretch of the imagination but Hughton has them very well organised and that makes them difficult to beat. It wouldn’t be a major surprise to see Brighton battling it out at the top of the division, especially as they have signed a couple of players with Championship pedigree.
It won’t be easy but Brighton ARE capable of toppling Newcastle and co this season. On paper, the Seagulls may struggle to win the title but Hughton has the guts, determination and courage to inspire his troops to victory as they look to reach the top flight for the first time since 1983.