Brighton will be looking to further consolidate their place in the Championship’s top two when they return from the international break against Aston Villa this evening at the Amex.
Chris Hughton’s side opened up a five-point gap between themselves and the play-off pack with a comfortable 2-0 win at Bristol City a fortnight ago, with Steve Sidwell and Jamie Murphy finding the back of the net for the Seagulls in the first half.
Having gone into the international break on a run of ten games without defeat, Albion will be hoping to maintain that momentum tonight against an Aston Villa side who look to have got their act together after an underwhelming start to the campaign.
After being relegated from the top flight for the first time in almost 30 years in May, Villa’s woes continued in the opening few months of this season, winning only one of their opening 11 league games.
Manager Roberto Di Matteo was sacked after four months in charge in October, and replaced by Steve Bruce.
Since then the midlands outfit have remained unbeaten under the former Hull boss, winning three of their last five games, as they have moved up to 14th in the table.
The 55-year-old’s appoint-ment has also coincided with the return to form of striker Jonathan Kodjia.
The Ivory Coast inter-national scored 19 times for Bristol City last season; however he had scored only once for the former Premier League side since making the £11m move to Villa Park at the end of August.
But the 27-year old has scored five goals in as many games since Bruce took over.
Tonight’s match is the first of back-to-back home games for Albion, with Fulham the visitors to the Amex next Saturday.
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