Duffy return to Brighton squad a boost for Irish play-off hopes
Chris Hughton has given the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualification hopes a boost by including Shane Duffy in the Brighton squad for tonight's match at West Ham.
There was concern when Duffy, now a key member of Martin O'Neill's defence, was substituted in the second half of the Seagulls' Premier League draw with Everton last Sunday after suffering a groin injury.
Happily, a scan of the injury provided good news and Duffy resumed training yesterday.
While Hughton does not want to see any of his counterparts out of work, he will be hoping to heap the pressure on Slaven Bilic as Brighton go in search of their first away victory of the season.
"At home, I think we have acquitted ourselves well - we've won two games, drawn one and put on a very good show against Manchester City (a 2-0 defeat)," Hughton said.
"It's going to be about away form that's going to be the most challenging. This is a game away from home, a big stadium, against a very talented team and seeing a way for us getting points away from home."
Albion will once again be without suspended Israel striker Tomer Hemed following his violent conduct charge, while the Hammers have their own selection issues up front as Andy Carroll begins a ban after he was sent off at Burnley.
Hughton, who managed the England international at Newcastle, feels his absence could have a bearing on the Hammers' tactics. "Andy is a wonderful tool for them and know how effective he can be," he said. "But they still have great quality and I expect as tough a game."
West Ham v Brighton, live, Sky Sports Mix, 8.0