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Chris Hughton makes management return at Brighton

| 31.12.2014

Chris Hughton has been named the new manager of Brighton and Hove Albion, succeeding Sami Hyypia, who resigned as Seagulls boss before Christmas.

The appointment of former Newcastle United, Birmingham and Norwich City coach Hughton has coincided with Coral lengthening Brighton’s odds for Championship relegation from 3/1 to 4/1.

Ex-Republic of Ireland international and Tottenham defender Hughton takes over a Seagulls side that moved out of the bottom three with a win at Fulham in their final outing of 2014.

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom told the club’s official website: “Chris has an excellent record in coaching and management. He is also a manager who has a track record for developing talent at all levels from academy upwards and will embrace the work we’ve been doing at the club in this area in recent seasons.

“Importantly, we also felt Chris is someone who can improve our immediate situation, while also having the management credentials and skills to plan our long-term future and help us to get back to progressing in the way we have in previous seasons.”

While Hughton has a Championship promotion (with Newcastle) and a top six finish (Birmingham) on his CV from previous roles, it is other qualities like the stabilising influence that he has had on other sides which will be required on the south coast.

Since Gus Poyet guided the Seagulls to the League One title in 2011, Brighton have seen themselves as an upwardly mobile club. While subsequent seasons since then have been about attempting to achieve another promotion, such prospects are remote for an Albion outfit that has averaged around just a point per game.

Only Charlton Athletic have drawn more matches than Brighton during the first half of this campaign. Hughton must turn some of these stalemates into victories, and to do that he has shrug off the image his critics give him of being both predictable and rigid tactically.

Stranger things have happened in the Championship than a potential Seagulls resurgence. Bitter rivals Crystal Palace were once bottom at Christmas, but then went on an amazing run which culminated in promotion via the play-offs in 2004.

Hughton will not be thinking of that, however, though odds for a top six finish at Brighton are long at 40/1, while their price to go up is double that at 80/1.

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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.