Its our first visit to the Withdean stadium tomorrow night where Brighton have been based since the summer of 1999. Previously a zoo and an athletics stadium it has been voted the fourth worst stadium in the UK back in 2004 by the Observer, (it was kept out of the top three by Priestfield, Kenilworth Road and Millmoor, Rotherham) and houses, if that's the correct word, 8850 fans.
The arrival of a new manager usually has some effect and Brighton are no different. Away to Pardews lot in a south coast derby was his first game and they dispatched the in-form Saints 3-1 after the home team had won 13 points out of the last 15. Unfortunately for Poyet his first home game the following week was against rampant Leeds and the fun couldn't last, the game ending in a 0-3 home defeat followed last Tuesday with another hammering 1-4 at Norwich. But beware Parky, they are still in the Cup with a late winner over Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday.
There's five grounds in League One with less than a 10000 capacity and we've already done Hartlepool, Orient and Yeovil, which just leaves just Brighton and Exeter.
Back in October, club captain and number nine Nicky Forster was awarded the Football League One Player of the Month Award, for his impressive start to the season, netting 7 goals in the first 8 games. He's slowed up since then, he is 36 but only a couple of months older than Christian Dailly, with only another four in his next 11 games. There's also number 10, Liam Dickinson, on 6 goals who we have meet before. He it was who upset Parky in his third Addicks game in charge last December when he scored twice for Blackpool in a 2-0 win at Bloomfield Rd and he got himself ready for the Addicks with another two in the Cup at the weekend.
Whats Their Secret?
Whilst the Addicks have improved to have now to have the second best record against the top half of the table (with an average of 2 points a game from 4 wins, 2 draws and a single defeat), Brighton have the third worst with no wins and only 3 draws to show in their 8 games against the cream.
And they tend to relax towards the end of each half with their worst 5 minute spell being the last 5 minutes of each half, conceding 6 in both.
And while everyone likes to get the first goal, its a moral-raising fightback that we all love. Three teams in League One have gone on to win three times after going behind - Bristol, Walsall and Huddersfield while the Addicks lead the rest with 2 winning fightbacks - Brighton on the other hand haven't done it at all.
Over the years Colchester and Exeter are the only grounds in this league where we've got less than half a point a game - and not improved this season - and are even worse than our records at Millwall and Leeds. But you may be surprised to learn that our record at Brighton, after 23 years together, is not so bright either. We've managed less than a point a game there with only 5 wins and 6 draws in the 23 games. We first went there in 1921 and played them throughout the 20's and Brighton were obviously a force to be reckoned with back then because it took us 8 years before we managed a win, 3-2, in 1928. And it then took us another 32 years before we managed a second win in 1960.
Doing A Leicester?
After 18 games they had 38 points (from 11 wins and 2 defeats) and something to aim for is their total at the halfway mark on 23 games of 51 points (15 wins and still only 2 defeats). And a timely warning that second after 23 games last season were MK Dons on 49 points and they still missed out on promotion.
What Are They Saying?
Akpo Sodje, on staying with the Addicks after December, "If it happens I'll be very, very happy, but if it doesn't happen then I'll just keep on playing for Sheffield Wednesday. My contract is up at the end of the season, so I need to play more games wherever I'm going to be. We're just all happy - the whole team, the manager and everyone - that we've got a point and we had a few more chances as well. It just tells you that we're not just a passing side, we can grind out results as well, and we're very unlucky that we didn't win. Hopefully it continues in the next game and we get a result."
Parky celebrated his year in charge on the 22nd November and has now got 16 wins in 53 games. Its's his 42th birthday tomorrow and what a birthday treat he'll have with win number 17th.
Meanwhile, 28 year old Akpo Sodje, youngest of the 10 Sodje offspring, is another one keen to stay. He made his debut at Sheffield Wednesday in September 2007 and has played 30 games for them scoring nine times. This season he's played 9 times for the owls but all without scoring and has dropped down the strikers pecking order, behind Tudgay and Johnson and even falling behind Derby loanee Luke Varney who's scored three times.