Brighton boss Chris Hughton wants selection headaches for Liverpool and beyond

Leon Balogun in action on his Brighton & Hove Albion debut against Manchester United. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Leon Balogun in action on his Brighton & Hove Albion debut against Manchester United. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Chris Hughton is hoping that his Brighton & Hove Albion squad will give him selection headaches as they push for starting places.

Lewis Dunk was forced off in the first half in the victory against Manchester United last weekend, paving the way for Nigerian international Leon Balogun to take his place in the back four.

With Dunk looking set to miss Albion’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield, Balogun will be hoping to stake a claim for a regular starting spot alongside Shane Duffy, giving Hughton a decision to make when Dunk returns to full fitness.

Speaking in his pre-Liverpool press conference, Hughton said: “It’s always a big position and a big relationship with your central defenders, particularly when you’re going to Anfield and you know you’re very much going to be tested.

“I want as much competition as possible. The more decisions I have to make it means people are pushing and you always want to have to make those decisions.”

Hughton, along with many Albion supporters, was impressed by Balogun’s debut last weekend, and added: “He came in he’s made a very good impression from day one. What helps is that he is an experienced player and has played at a good level.

“He’s played in a few positions at the back so I think somebody like him, coming into the game against Manchester United, wouldn’t have been phased by it and generally has taken it into his stride. He’s a very good addition for us, that’s the reason why we brought him in.”

Hughton will have some decisions to make as his side prepare for the trip to Merseyside, with record-signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh pushing Anthony Knockaert for his favoured right-wing position, and Yves Bissouma’s promising second half display at Watford putting pressure on Albion’s midfield trio of Stephens, Propper and Gross.