Eddie Howe says Brighton have been transformed under Chris Hughton
By Calum Wilson
Last Updated: 01/01/18 1:24pm
Eddie Howe has praised Brighton boss Chris Hughton and says his counterpart has transformed the Seagulls into an established Premier League team.
Brighton have made a solid start to life in the top flight under Hughton and are 12th in the table, two points above Howe's Bournemouth side in 14th.
After making a slow start to the season, Bournemouth earned their first win of the campaign by beating Brighton 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium in September, but will need to be at their best when the two teams meet for the reverse fixture on Monday, live on Sky Sports.
Brighton have only been beaten twice at home this season, by leaders Manchester City and in a 5-1 thrashing by Liverpool, but Howe insists Bournemouth will not underestimate their south-coast rivals.
"Chris [Hughton] has done an amazing job there in getting them promoted and now making a really good challenge in the Premier League," said Howe.
"One thing that strikes you with Chris is just how down to earth and how good to talk to he is. He is a real football man.
"He has done an incredible job with Brighton and really transformed the club into one that are now establishing themselves well in the Premier League.
"We don't underestimate them, we know how good they can be.
"The challenge for us is to try and beat them, to get three massive points would be huge for us."
Bournemouth ended a nine-match winless run with victory over Everton on Saturday, while Brighton held Newcastle to a goalless draw at St James' Park and Howe expects the Seagulls to be equally as tough to break down on New Year's day.
"I have seen Brighton do very well this year," said Howe. "They have been competitive, very organised, tough to beat and tough to score against.
"We know that going there is never easy. We are looking forward to the game but it is going to be tough.
"They are a very evenly matched team. I think they are very solid, very tough to score against and that is a compliment to the two centre-halves.
"They have creativity with Murray and Knockaert and some really good attacking players.
"They have got the ability to keep clean sheets and get goals."
Fantasy Football is back!
Fantasy just got real. Pick your Sky Sports Fantasy Football team for free here.