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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion (H)


Brighton v Dons

By Oli
April 4 2009

With one win in our last nine, Dons' automatic promotion hopes look dead and buried but there's still a playoff place to fight for as Brighton visit stadium:mk. Stephen Gleeson could make his debut and Tore Andre Flo is nearing fitness.

Flo has been out for several weeks with a calf injury, but could return to the bench for Saturday's clash. Luke Chadwick remains sidelined with a niggling hamstring problem and Luke Howell is ruled out with a rib injury. Danny Swailes remains sidelined with his long-term achilles problem, and Roberto Di Matteo this week admitted he is unlikely to return this season.

Wolves loanee Stephen Gleeson played 75 minutes in Ireland U21's impressive 2-1 victory over Spain last Saturday, and could make his Dons debut this weekend. He is likely to start on the bench but could replace Peter Leven, who has looked jaded in recent weeks.

Brighton will visit Milton Keynes with a whole host of injury problems as new manager Russell Slade looks to rescue the south coast side from the drop. 14 players will miss out with the main two being strikers Glenn Murray and Nicky Forster, who have bagged 11 league goals each this term. Craig Davies and Cheltenham loanee Lloyd Owusu are likely to start, while Crystal Palace loanee Calvin Andrew has resumed training after injury but will not travel for Saturday's match.

In defence Tommy Elphick is suspended and Gary Borrowdale, Colin Hawkins and Kerry Mayo are all doubtful, as is Matt Heath who would be in line to play the last game of his loan spell from Colchester United if fit. Adam Hinshelwood, another defender, will have a scan on the day but is another doubt. Six-figure January signing Jim McNulty is out for the season after an operation on his kidney. 

Moving onto midfield, winger Dean Cox picked up an injury in training this week and is unlikely to feature. Al Bangura, on loan from Watford, is out, as is Gary Hart. They may be boosted by the return of Jason Jarrett however, while Chris Birchall returns from international duty with Trinidad and Tobago and Doug Loft has been recalled from his loan with Dagenham and Redbridge.

Elsewhere striker Sam Gargan is out, as is goalkeeper John Sullivan.

Like the Dons, Brighton are struggling badly at the minute, with only one win in eight matches. Unfortunately whereas MK have been grinding out draws (some would say throwing away wins), Brighton have lost five of those eight matches, and find themselves seven points adrift of safety, although they do have two games in hand. 

Thankfully, as otherwise this article would be absolutely gigantic, the two sides have met only once previously, which was earlier this season at the Withdean Stadium. In a very lively Friday night clash before Christmas Dons emerged 4-2 winners, courtesy of goals from Miguel Llera, Jemal Johnson, Leven and Jason Puncheon. Dons had gone behind early on with Bradley Johnson opening the scoring, but after three Dons goals Stuart Fleetwood's consolation was followed by Puncheon's superb solo effort.

Refereeing on Saturday will be Mr S Tanner, who has officiated on the Premier League this season, with his last two matches at the City of Manchester Stadium and The Hawthorns. Last season as we inched closer to promotion he took charge of our 0-0 home draw against Hereford United. Mr Tanner will be assisted by Mr M Cairns and Mr S Artis, and the fourth official will be Mr C Sarginson, who refereed us only a couple of weeks ago away at Yeovil Town.

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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
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04/04/2009 12:31
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