Clean sheets the foundation for a promotion push

Chris Hughton. Picture by Phil Westlake
Chris Hughton. Picture by Phil Westlake
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When people ask me what my favourite books are I always include L’etranger (also known as The Outsider) by Albert Camus.

The story of one man’s struggle also focuses in part on the pleasure from simple physical experience such as cold soothing water on a blazing hot day. Sometimes a physical sensation is often the best. Don’t worry, I will keep it clean. And clean is exactly what I want to talk about. There is nothing quite like it.

Sunday night after an action-packed weekend, slipping into fresh clean sheets. A sense of comfort.

That’s exactly the sensation that the Albion are experiencing at the moment. The team are third going into the trip to Wigan this weekend and much of their success is built on defence.

The Seagulls have the meanest defence in the Championship, alongside Ipswich, conceding just nine goals in 13 league games. They have also recorded the highest number of clean sheets in the division, an incredible eight in 13 games.

That record will be put to the test on Saturday with Lewis Dunk suspended and influential captain Bruno a serious doubt with a groin injury. However all the team deserve credit and manager Chris Hughton does as well.

A defender as a player, the former left-back Hughton knows the importance of not conceding and just like last year it will provide the foundation for a promotion push.

As expected, big-spending Newcastle and efficient Norwich have moved to the top two automatic promotion places. The Seagulls, I’m sure, will push them and others all the way this season if they continue to display robust defensive performances.

The word ‘negative’ has been mentioned by some fans in terms of a tactical strategy, especially when winning, but I can’t agree. The Seagulls are third. Goal difference may yet come into play once again – but with such determination at the back and if Glenn Murray and Sam Baldock continue to add to their tally at the other end of the pitch, they may have the recipe for success this time around.

Johnny Cantor covers Brighton & Hove Albion as a commentator and reporter for BBC Sussex Sport.

Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburger

To read more by Johnny Cantor, visit www.johnnycantor.com

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