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Brighton finally eye EPL promotion

Press Association logoPress Association 27/12/2016

Brighton boss Chris Hughton spoke of his players' desire to win promotion this season after the Seagulls leapfrogged Newcastle at the top of The Championship with a 3-0 home victory over 10-man QPR.

Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert struck either side of a Glenn Murray penalty as Brighton made it 17 league games unbeaten and moved two points above Newcastle at the top.

Albion agonisingly missed out on automatic promotion last season on goal difference to Middlesbrough before failing in the playoffs for the third time in four campaigns, and Hughton says there is a hunger not to slip up this time.

"No doubt there is a determination. There has been a difference in the team but not a dramatic one," Hughton said.

"I was delighted with what I saw from the team last season and we have now turned draws into wins.

"We recruited well in the summer and there is a determination among the players to get promoted. They want to be at the top end of the table and to be the best team we can."

Hughton admitted Albion are happy to hit top spot at the halfway point, but warned of tougher challenges to come.

"Overall at halfway we are delighted but the second half of the season won't be any easier, it will be possibly harder," he said.

"Looking at the results of the teams around us, they are all winning."

Hughton expects Albion to do only limited business in the January transfer window after building a squad in the summer to mount another promotion challenge.

QPR manager Ian Holloway felt his side were harshly punished for the sending off of skipper Nedum Onuoha shortly after the interval.

The defender was shown a straight red card by referee Keith Stroud for bringing down an on-rushing Baldock.

"It was far too soft, it was ridiculous. It was a goal-scoring opportunity and when the whistle was blown I feared the worst," Holloway said.

"How harsh is that? It has to be crystal clear. I try and be unbiased but it's about as harsh as it can be.

"In the first half, Idrissa Sylla was pushed in the back by (Shane) Duffy but we didn't get a free-kick."

Struggling Rangers have now lost their last six games, failing to score in five of them, and Holloway admits he is considering bringing in new players in January.

"With Nedum suspended I literally haven't got a back four. I've got a list of names and I can dream all I like, but I have got to be clever, resourceful and lucky. It will also be about who I have to move out," he said.

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