Albion ready for first pre-season friendly

Steve Sidwell. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Steve Sidwell. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

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Albion ramp up their pre-season programme on Saturday when they travel to Crawley Town for their opening friendly.

It is just over two months since Albion suffered the heartbreak of missing out on promotion to the Premier League on goal difference, before they lost in the play-off semi-finals to Sheffield Wednesday.

The squad returned to training two weeks ago and then headed to Tenerife last week for a training camp.

Seagulls assistant manager Colin Calderwood said: “The players are all ready for a game now and it’s a different section of our pre-season training. They’ve had a chance to build up to this game for a long time, although we’ve had 11-a-side matches between ourselves which has been good competition.

“This match takes things to the next stage and it will be 45 minutes each for the majority of the players.” Brighton keeper David Stockdale will not be involved after missing the Tenerife training camp with a toe injury, but he has now started ball work in training.

Seagulls fans could witness Glenn Murray’s first game for the club since 2011 after he returned on loan from Bournemouth.

Calderwood says Murray has quickly fitted in with the squad: “He knows the club and although he might not know too many of the players, it certainly helps that he’s been here before. He’s settled in very quickly and looks very much part of the fabric of the club. The players who we’ve signed quickly become part of the group as everyone is here to help one another be a successful club.”

Steve Sidwell, who has joined permanently from Stoke after a loan spell last season, Ben Hall and Tyler Hornby-Forbes are the other pre-season additions so far.

After Saturday, Brighton take on Championship rivals Fulham at Aldershot on Tuesday.

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