Brighton intrigue at 9/2 to complete the final part of their climb
The summer injection of greater defensive experience is encouraging
Brighton are 9/2 to complete the logical next step in their ascent up the Football League under Gus Poyet by achieving promotion to the Premier League in the upcoming campaign.
The Seagulls have been on the rise for a while, with each of their last three campaigns showing an improvement on the one that it preceded, and they proved more than capable of competing on their return to the Championship last season.
Justifying Poyet’s refusal to set their sights solely on surviving, they topped the table after six games and held a play-off place with six to play, only for a disappointing finish to force them to delay their Premier League plans for a year.
Wigan, Reading, Stoke, Wolves and Swansea have all used similarly galling experiences as a learning curve and come back stronger the following season and there is no reason to doubt that the south-coast side could follow their example.
Their transfer business certainly inspires confidence, as Poyet has acted quickly to recruit three players who all have experience not only of playing in the top flight but also at the highest level of club football, the Champions League.
Ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak arrives on a free transfer after reacquainting himself with regular football on loan at Watford, while Poyet’s La Liga contacts enabled him to bring in Valencia right back Bruno.
The most high-profile addition however was at left back, where Wayne Bridge has joined from Manchester City on a season-long loan. At 31, he is far from past it and has obtained 36 England caps despite the presence of Ashley Cole.
It is significant that all those signings have been made in defence as, though their record wasn’t horrendous last term, it was an area in which they were found lacking in the big matches, conceding 12 goals in three trips to the promoted teams.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.