Brighton will definitely be without Dale Stephens and Pascal Gross for Saturday’s trip to face reigning champions Manchester City. Stephens had to be removed from the action after just 21 minutes in the 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham last weekend, while fellow midfielder Gross missed out altogether with an ankle problem.
And, despite initially being hopeful that they could be fit for the game at the Etihad Stadium, Hughton accepted defeat at his press conference, while he confirmed that Florin Andone will play a part.
He said: “Both Dale Stephens and Pascal Gross will miss the game. Dale felt his hamstring and came off fairly early in the Tottenham game. The good news is that it’s fairly minor, but he’s not quite fit enough for this one. It’s the same with Pascal.
“Florin is fit. It’s been a difficult time for him as he came here with an injury, which we knew about and it delayed his pre-season.
“He hasn’t had too many games under his belt; he played in an under-23 game a couple of weeks ago, so he is available and we have to make a decision in terms of when he plays a part.”
The news of Stephens’ absence means Beram Kayal, who replaced him in the loss to Spurs, will be handed a start on Saturday.
Hughton has likened the game at City to the Seagulls’ trip to Liverpool earlier in the campaign when they were narrowly beaten 1-0; and he is looking for a similar display.
He added: “Along with playing Liverpool away, I would say that this is the toughest game. We did okay in the Liverpool one and might’ve got a result there, so you always have to be positive going into games like this.
“No-one expects us to get anything from it, so that’s normal and that pressure is taken off, but we want to do as well as we can.
“Irrespective of the different levels between the two teams and their qualities, there isn’t ever any game we go into thinking that we’re going to get beaten. You have to look at the good examples of our performances against the big teams away from home.”