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Burnley travel to Brighton tomorrow with home boss Chris Hughton taking time out from his one man campaign about booing opposition players to suggest it will be a tight game between the two sides.

“I’m expecting a tight game, because generally that’s what it has been,” Hughton said. “Even the home games against Burnley. The levels of the two clubs and the two teams have been relatively similar over the last seasons. They, of course, had an outstanding season last season and testament to them, certainly with the budgets and what they have as regards the squad and the amount of players in the squad.

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“I expect a hard fought game. The fact we are at home you hope to take advantage of that. Our home form has been good and we are on the back of a very good performance against Watford (a 0-0 draw), but we expect a very tough game.”

Burnley will not play for another two weeks after tomorrow’s game with it being FA Cup 5th round day next weekend and Sean Dyche said: “It would be good to go into the break still unbeaten this calendar year, but our goal is not to drag anyone back in. Our goal is to perform, and we’ve been doing that. I think we’ve been a tad unlucky with decisions, but our mentality has been super strong and we’ve just got on with it. The mentality continues to improve and there is a lot of edge to our game now and plenty of positive feelings around the performances, not just the results. I’ve been really pleased with that.”

He added: “The fact we are on a good run owes us nothing. We have to earn a result and that’s what we’ll look to do again. We are aware of their situation and they’ve had some tough results after a solid start to the season. But from Brighton’s point of view, it’s tough to go a full season in the Premier League, when you are outside the top six, without some form of a tough run.

“That doesn’t mean they are not a good side, but I am sure there will be a feeling of that going into the game. We’ve perhaps got a bit more freedom, but the only way we can capitalise on that is if we go down there with a good mindset.”

Not only is he pleased with the recent form but also the reducing numbers in the treatment room. Of that, he said: “Robbie and Jόhann were both out there last weekend, which is good news. Behind that, Steven Defour is coming back to full fitness, but is not quite there yet. Matt Lowton was back out on the grass on Thursday for the first time in a month and is making good progress. Kevin Long has a knock too, so we’ll make a decision on that ahead of the weekend, but we’re beginning to get back to full fitness.

“I’ve been trying to get that all season and we’ve not quite got there. Beyond Saturday’s game, we have a window where, hopefully, we can get more or less everyone back to full fitness. It’s been very frustrating, but we are hopefully coming to the end of that choppy spell that’s carried on from pre-season.”




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