One change to the Brighton team that battled for a deserved draw against Liverpool. Tariq Lamptey is back from suspension; Neal Maupay drops to the bench.
Southampton are unchanged from their eventful defeat to Manchester United. Star striker Danny Ings returns from injury, but only as an insurance policy on the bench.
However, here’s the biggest and most welcome team news: 2,000 lucky Brighton fans return to the Amex for the first time since the March lockdown.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Ryan, Veltman, Dunk, Webster, Lamptey, White, Bissouma, March, Gross, Connolly, Welbeck.
Subs: Maupay, Trossard, Jahanbakhsh, Alzate, Steele, Bernardo, Burn.
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo, Walcott, Adams.
Subs: Stephens, Long, Ings, Redmond, Salisu, Diallo, Forster.
Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)
It’s not the south-coast derby … but it’s a south-coast derby, and that’s good enough for us. Brighton & Hove Albion welcome Southampton, hoping for their first victory over their near-neighbours in the Premier League era, and three points that would ease them further away from the relegation zone.
Graham Potter’s side are better than their current total of ten points from ten matches suggest. After a sluggish but not always fortunate start to the season – think that game against Manchester United – they’re beginning to get it together. They’ve only lost one of their last six, and that narrowly to leaders Tottenham; their last two matches have seen them go toe-to-toe with champions Liverpool and win impressively at Aston Villa. They look a cut above the other early-season strugglers.
Southampton are also a team on an upward trajectory. Admittedly they’re currently eighth in the table having briefly been top, but you’ve tracked the general trend, you get the gist. Ralph Hussenhattl’s entertaining team has been involved in some humdingers this season – a 4-3 win at Aston Villa, a 3-3 draw at Chelsea, 5-2 and 3-2 losses at home to Spurs and Manchester United respectively – as well as efficient dispatches of Everton and Newcastle, and a fine point at Wolves. They’re usually worth watching, one way or another.
All of which raises hope of a fine derby this evening at the Amex. Kick off is at 8pm GMT. It’s on!