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Brighton and Hove Albion without quartet for visit of Watford
7:00am Saturday 26th October 2013 in Sport
Watford will face a Brighton & Hove Albion side who will be missing four key players as they look to record their first win in five Championship matches on Monday night.
Former Hornet Liam Bridcutt, Watford-born Craig Mackail-Smith, Kazenga LuaLua and top-scorer Jose Ulloa are all expected to be out for the clash at the Amex Stadium.
Watford are on a slightly rocky run of form themselves having lost two out of the last three games in the league and Gianfranco Zola says he was pleased to have an extra two days to work on the team’s defence this weekend.
“I will tell you if I like Monday night games on Monday night,” Zola joked.
“But we will have time to prepare properly and have been working on the defensive side of things, so I don’t mind having a couple more days to continue that.”
Brighton are currently 15th in the Championship, seven points below Watford, but the Hornets boss insists his players will not be taking their opponents lightly.
“I have seen Brighton play a couple of times this season and I know they are a tough team,” Zola said.
“They will be up for it. We will have to produce a very good performance similar to how we played last year (3-1 win) if we want to get points from the game.”
Brighton head coach Oscar Garcia took charge of the Seasiders in June following the dismissal of manager Gus Poyet, who is a former Chelsea teammate and personal friend of Zola’s.
As a player, Garcia spent 11 years at Valencia and as a coach he led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Israeli title last season after working with Barcelona’s youth team.
“He was a very good player in his time,” Zola said. “As a manager I haven’t followed him much but I've seen Brighton play twice and away to QPR they made a good impression.”
The Hornets beat Brighton 3-1 in this fixture last season and while Zola admits the game will have a different feel to it without Poyet in the opposite dugout, the Italian is hoping for a similar result.
“Yes it will be different because Gus is not there but they are different as a team and we are different too,” he added.
“It will be a different game and I hope the only thing that’s the same is the result.”