Rivals all set for the latest M23 derby

Tonight The Amex will host the latest instalment of the M23 derby. Both clubs gained a point on their travels at the weekend. Palace secured a credible 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, whilst Brighton drew 1-1 at Leicester.

Early team news

Brighton will still be without Alireza Jahanbakhsh, but defender Bruno is expected to be available despite limping off on Saturday. Dale Stephens remains suspended following his red card at Cardiff City last month.

There are no new injury concerns for Crystal Palace, but The Eagles are still without long-term casualty Christian Benteke.

Brighton boss, Chris Hughton shared his thoughts at yesterday’s pre-match press conference. Calling for the right approach from his players. Hughton said:

“You want to be respectful for the club and supporters, but once the game starts you have to treat it as a normal game that you have to approach in the correct way tactically to get what you need from the contest.

“If you’re too emotional then you know what can happen, so we have to be smart about it and go about our business in the right way – take the passion and fight that comes with this game and approach it sensibly.”

Opposite number Roy Hodgson gave his opinion during Crystal Palace’s post-match briefing. Hodgson spoke of the importance of the fixture to supporters. The ex-England boss said:

“We are excited, we’re excited for every game. You should be in the Premier League. But this one is special, significant, particularly for our fans, especially those who’ve supported us for many years. They know the importance of a good result against our near rivals. But there’s only one way we can satisfy them and ourselves and that’s playing the right way.

“We’ll do the very best we can do to get the points. The team have been playing well for a long time. We have a lot of talented players at our club and are capable of playing good football.”

Brighton currently sit above their rivals in 11th with 18 points. Palace are six points behind in 14th.

Why they are rivals

Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion is a rivalry that many people do not understand. The club’s are 45-miles apart, separated by the M23 motorway.

The rivalry originally came about during the 1940s and 50s as they faced off regularly against each other.

1976 saw a series of FA Cup game’s that acted as a catalyst to the rivalry. The 2nd Round draw paired the clubs together with Brighton as hosts. A 2-2 draw led to Seagulls boss, Alan Mullery bemoan Palace’s tactics. The replay at Selhurst Park failed to find a winner with the game finishing 1-1 after extra-time.

In those days ties continued to be replayed at neutral venues. Stamford Bridge was the setting as The Eagles faced The Seagulls for a 3rd time. Palace took an early lead before controversy reined. Brighton had a goal disallowed, and then had a twice taken penalty saved, after the first was ruled out for encroachment.

As the final whistle went, Mullery it the blue touch paper as he approached the referee and gestered to Palace fans.

That was the moment that ignited the hatred and disdain felt by supporters to this day.

Tonight’s fixture will be the 102nd time the clubs have met. They sit level with 38-victories each, 25-matches have ended honours even.

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