Manager expecting difficult test against Brighton
Simon Grayson told htafc.com that his players and the fans will have to be patient this Saturday against Brighton – a team who boast the third best passing statistic in the Championship.
“I saw a statistic recently that said Brighton is the third best passing team in the Championship, to date. I think they are averaging nearly 400 passes in a game – and that is a lot,” said Simon.
“I think we were about half way in terms of the statistic. Even though Brighton is third in terms of the passing statistic it doesn’t make them the most potent of teams. Brighton is good at retaining possession and play through its defence. We are a little bit more direct in our play.
“The players will have to be patient and the supporters will also have to be, because that’s the way they play. We have got to make sure that we make an impact on them when we have the ball because they will have large spells with it.
“Anyone that has seen them play under Gus Poyet over the last couple of years will know exactly what his philosophy is and what he is all about. He likes the ball to be played down on the deck and in the right manner and they will build from the back."
Simon continued: “Gus is working at a nice football club that is progressing off the field as well as on it and he has got a Chairman who has backed him. It’s the sort of Club that you look at in terms of longer term strategies and where they are moving, rather than the short term of it all. He’s got players that are very adaptable. He’s got Spanish players that are comfortable playing his style of football. He’s also got some good, former Premier League players in his squad such as Andrew Crofts, Dean Hammond, Wayne Bridge and Tomasz Kuszczak, which just adds to how tough a test it will be."
Striker Simon Church has been at Town for a week now and Simon is delighted with the way he has handled his new surroundings.
“He has settled in really well,” said Simon. “He has integrated into the group fantastically and already contributed out on the pitch in just a short space of time. He is level headed and will only get better.”
Left-back Paul Dixon was making an impression on the international stage during the week, providing an assist during Scotland’s 2-1 victory over Luxembourg.
“We are pleased that he played 90 minutes again for Scotland, which is obviously a big boost to his confidence. He came in on Thursday morning for a quick massage and then back home to bed because I don’t think he got back to Scotland till late. I’m delighted for him especially as he had a hand in one of the goals.”
Simon added: “Paul came here with a good reputation, but he is still a young player and has got a lot to learn. We took him out of the team a couple of weeks ago and gave Calum Woods a run in the side who did ever so well. We brought Paul back in last week and he did everything we knew he could do. He’s got things to work on, like everyone has at this football club.”
To finish, Simon updated us on the fitness of his strike duo Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan.
“James is going to be a doubt again for the weekend. His thigh isn’t making the progress that we would like at this moment in time. He’s going for another scan this Monday to see how it’s settling down. It’s a blow, but that’s why we have got other options available to us. I don’t want to say how long he will be out for because he could be out for longer than we are saying, or shorter. When he’s fit, we’ll put him back in the squad, but we are being are being cautious.”
On Jermaine, he said: “He’s still a bit sore from the weekend. We took him off as a precaution because we didn’t want him getting fatigued and making the injury worse. He’ll be touch and go for the weekend, like one or two other players will be.”