Date:Thursday December 20 2012
Albion will look to shake off their 'draw specialists' tag as they make the long trip to Ewood Park on Saturday to take on an under-performing Blackburn side.
A late David Lopez penalty saw the Seagulls scrounge a point from their midweek game with Millwall, meaning they remain in 8th place, 3 points adrift of the play-off spots. With an extra game played, a victory here would help Albion keep pace with the above pack.
Rovers have plummeted down into lower-mid table since the appointment of former player Henning Berg - as they currently find themselves on a poor run of form, with just a single win from their last 9 outings. However, with a squad crammed with Premier League experience, surely results must pick up at some point?
Gus Poyet senses that Blackburn's quality will start to shine through eventually, but remains confident the XI he selects will be capable of collecting 3 points.
He told seagulls.co.uk, "They have a very good squad and there are plenty of teams in the middle of the table, so if any of them have a great end they will finish in a good position.
"I'm sure that Blackburn have got the potential, the money and the fanbase to do very well in this division so I'm sure it's a matter of time for them. I just hope that starts on Boxing Day and not on Saturday.
"We are not going there in the best possible shape but we are going to make sure that the ones on the pitch are good enough to win the game.
"I'm sure that they will be so I'm relaxed, but I need to make the right decisions now."
Skipper Danny Murphy could return to the side, having overcome the hamstring strain that kept him out of their recent defeats to Cardiff and Blackpool.
David Dunn has returned to training, but is unlikely to feature, whilst attacking pair Fabio Nunes and Mauro Formica also look set to miss out.
Signed for a staggering fee of £8m from Huddersfield in August, Rhodes has already showcased his poaching ability by netting 11 goals for his new club so far this campaign. Renowned for his aerial threat, along with the ability to finish chances with either foot, the Scotland international will no doubt prove a handful for the Albion back-line.
Poyet was the bearer of bad news on the right-back front, as he revealed that neither Bruno Saltor nor Inigo Calderon look likely to be fit in time for this one.
Adam El-Abd or David Lopez could deputise, as the latter did in a more advanced wing-back role in midweek. Elsewhere, midfield duo Andrea Orlandi (rib) and Gary Dicker (knee) miss out once again.
Having been a bit-part player for most the season - for a number of reasons - LuaLua has made an important contribution coming off the bench in recent weeks, scoring 2 goals in his last 3 appearances. With explosive pace and shooting ability, the Congolese winger is likely to be handed a starting berth at Blackburn, and will want to make the most of it.
Albion edge the overall head-to-head record, with 10 wins to Rovers' 9, although the two sides have scarcely met in recent years.
In fact, their last league meeting occurred over 20 years ago, in the 1991/92 season - with Blackburn securing a double over the Seagulls with a 3-0 victory, following a 1-0 success in the reverse fixture.
Date:Thursday December 20 2012
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