Brighton v Leicester preview: Chris Hughton says Seagulls are different beast
Last Updated: 30/03/18 3:06pm
Chris Hughton believes Brighton are a different beast to the one beaten by Leicester City in August, having taken the Seagulls to within two points of the Premier League top half with seven games to go.
The Foxes were comfortable victors over Hughton's side in the early weeks of the season, as Brighton took time to find their feet, but has since seen them embark on a run of one defeat in six, including a historic 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Amex.
"We've come on a lot since the reverse fixture back in August," he said.
"We're at home where we've been in good form - you can't go into any home game without looking to win it - and there are different ways of doing that.
"We've played consistently well in recent weeks and got results over the last month or so. I think we play better under pressure.
"We now look like we have more of a goal threat going forward."
Claude Puel says Kelechi Iheanacho could feature for Leicester in their clash with Brighton, despite breaking his hand when away on international duty.
He started Nigeria's victory in Poland last week but was absent from the squad for the 2-0 defeat to Serbia at Barnet on Tuesday night.
The 21-year-old returned to Leicester on Thursday and boss Puel confirmed the injury at his pre-match press conference, although he said the problem would be assessed to see if he could still play.
"We will see about Iheanacho because he has a broken hand," said Puel. "We will see if he can play with his injury. We will see [on Friday] in the training session.
"I think he fell. It's not an important injury. We will see if this injury prevents him from playing in this game. Perhaps it might be strange for him to play with a cast."
Seagulls loanee Leonardo Ulloa will be unavailable to face his parent club, while former Leicester winger Anthony Knockaert serves the second game of a three-match ban following his dismissal at Goodison Park three weeks ago.
Midfielder Dale Stephens will undergo a late fitness test on a knock, but full-back Gaetan Bong is expected to be available to return after recovering from a thigh problem.
Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho could feature against Brighton despite suffering a broken hand on international duty.
Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire both returned from international duty with England fit and well and will play against Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.
There were doubts about Maguire after he was left out against Italy this week as a precaution after limping off late in the victory over the Netherlands.
However, Matty James will not be available as he continues to struggle with a sore Achilles tendon.
These sides haven't met at the Amex Stadium since December 2013 in a Championship fixture - Brighton won 3-1, in what was Leicester's final away league defeat of that season.
Leicester's last away league victory at Brighton came in February 2006, winning 2-1 in the Championship - they have drawn one and lost three of four visits since.
Brighton have won each of their last three Premier League home games - as many as they'd won in their first 12 in the competition (W3 D6 L3).
Leicester won their last away league game, after a run of five without a win on the road (D1 L4). Both of their last two away wins have been by a 4-1 scoreline (vs West Brom last time out and vs Southampton in December).
Twenty of Leicester's 30 Premier League games this season have seen both teams find the net, more than any other side in the division.
PL Prediction Show podcast
Listen to the Premier League Prediction Show podcast with Max Rushden and Paul Merson
The Foxes have won four and drawn three of their seven away Premier League matches against sides starting that day in the bottom half of the table, meaning that 15 of their 17 total points won on the road have come in these games.
Riyad Mahrez has been involved in five goals in his last five Premier League appearances against newly-promoted opposition (three goals, two assists) and has scored against both other newly promoted clubs - Newcastle and Huddersfield - this season.
Glenn Murray has scored six goals in his six home games in all competitions so far in 2018, accounting for 38 per cent of Brighton's total of 16 in that time.
Chris Hughton has won his two previous home league meetings against Leicester, winning with Newcastle in August 2009 and Birmingham in October 2011, both in the Championship.
Brighton at home are decent but they give you chances and with Riyad Mahrez and then Jamie Vardy up front, he will cause the defenders problems. I think a 1-1 draw would be a good result for Brighton.
I think going out in the FA Cup quarter-finals will affect Leicester more than Brighton. Leicester would have been looking at it as the only thing they had to play for this season, while Brighton are still in a relegation battle and they have bigger fish to fry, which you could tell by the team he picked so I think it will affect Leicester more as they have nothing to really play for now.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)