1) Elvis Manu – brought in to the club amid great competition for his signature back in August. Chris Hughton has suggested he is finding the adjustment to the English game, especially the rigours and physicality of Championship football, somewhat difficult. Manu always appears to be on the periphery of matches he joins.
2) Tomer Hemed – looked the part back in the late summer. Superb in the air. Strong on the ball. Works hard for the team. Missed a penalty away at Wolves in September then lost his way a little. Some fancy he is carrying a bit too much around the midriff to be the finished article. But aren’t we all.
3) Bobby Zamora – critisise Sir Bob and you could find yourself excommunicated north of the A23 pylons. Had a purple patch in the late autumn. It was like 2001 all over again. Hit the bar against Ipswich last week. Looked tired, lethargic and off the pace against Wolves yesterday. He is 35 next month. His return has been successful, even wonderful at times. Let’s hope he can do what he is best at again after the deserved break he should get during FA Cup week. And that he fires Albion to promotion.
3) James Wilson – looked up for it against Wolves and was very unlucky with a snap shot that Carl Ikeme turned over in the first half. Concerns over his wellbeing – not fitness, but illness. Many saw him vomit on the pitch prior to the start on Friday. But he worked tirelessly throughout. The good news is that United have recalled Will Keane from Preston and not Wilson. So far.
4) On Thursday 17 December, Hughton told Brighton and Hove News about the importance of the points gap between Albion and the teams outside the play-offs. When I spoke to him about it, the points difference was 11. Later today it could be just five.
5) David Stockdale’s distribution for a goalkeeper is fantastic. He has planted the ball on Jamie Murphy’s boot or Tomer Hemed’s or Lewis Dunk’s head in recent games with great accuracy. If the Albion need this direct approach to succeed or just to score a goal – and the drought has lasted 392 minutes so far – then so be it.
6) This season promotion is there for the taking. Albion never really got clear at the top. Sadly pegged back too many times by QPR, Derby and even Burnley. With Greer’s “defying the law of physics” miss in the last minute at home to Cardiff also taken into account, the Seagulls could have had at least 52 points and at least been safe from relegation! But seriously, the club must now have the most productive transfer window ever, regain momentum and grasp the opportunity. A striker is a must. Someone who can at least turn the countless chances created into an on-target effort. Aim for second place and then at the end of April paradise could be regained 33 years after it was lost. That home match to Derby on Saturday 30 April could be Albion’s game of the century. Anyone for a last-minute Zamora winner to send Albion up? They’d be partying out to the pylons then.