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Hughton fears in-form Ings can pose Brighton problems


BATTLE: Chris Hughton

BATTLE: Chris Hughton

BATTLE: Chris Hughton

Chris Hughton believes Danny Ings' desperation to revive his injury-hit career could cause big problems for Brighton.

Striker Ings has hit two Premier League goals in three starts for Southampton since completing a deadline-day move from Liverpool.

The switch to the South Coast followed three nightmare seasons at Anfield during which he went from an England debutant to forgotten man after two serious knee problems. Albion boss Hughton takes his team to St Mary's tonight and is wary of Ings' desire to make up for lost time.

"What Danny brings is what we always knew that he can bring," said Hughton.


ON FORM: Danny Ings

ON FORM: Danny Ings

ON FORM: Danny Ings

"What's happened to him over the last couple of seasons is that he's picked up injuries but there's never been any doubt about his ability, hence the reason why he went to Liverpool and why Liverpool think so highly of him.

"For him, it's about getting his career back on track and getting as many games as he can.

"He's started the season really well, like a player who has missed games and is desperate to play. It makes him a very difficult opponent." Meanwhile, Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes his team have broken out of the "straitjacket" of playing in front of their own fans.

Saints have endured a prolonged period of struggle at St Mary's, winning just four of their last 26 Premier League games.

They are yet to record a home victory this season but, ahead of tonight's Brighton visit, Hughes believes the anxiety of playing in the stadium has been lifted. "I think it has been a mental block but I sense there is a bit more freedom about our play at home," he said.

"There is a good energy in the stadium now in terms of fans seeing a real difference in our play in terms of our attitude to the game and what we're trying to do.

"That filters back to the players and they're encouraged.

"Certainly it seemed when I first came here there was a bit of a straitjacket in terms of apprehension before home games. I think that's gone.

"Performances - not necessarily the results we would have wanted - have been decent when the crowd was actually with us and could see we were trying to be more positive.

"Our home form needs to be addressed and that's what we've been talking about."

Southampton won 2-0 at Crystal Palace before the international break to record their first league victory of the campaign.

They have not won successive Premier League matches since April 2017.

Hughes feels the Brighton game is an ideal opportunity to rectify that statistic.

"When you have won away and have a home fixture you expect to win, with no disrespect to Brighton, you go into with intentions of winning,'' he added.

"It's a good moment for us, we're playing OK."