CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Chris Hughton plays down Brighton promotion talk

Brighton boss Chris Hughton
Brighton boss Chris Hughton
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Brighton boss Chris Hughton has refused to look beyond Monday's home game against Sky Bet Championship relegation battlers Wigan as his side stand on the brink of promotion.

The Seagulls will effectively seal a return to English football's top flight for the first time in 34 years if they secure a fifth straight league win due to their vastly superior goal difference over third-placed Huddersfield.

The south-coast club, losing play-off semi-finalists in three of the last four seasons, have never appeared in the Premier League after being relegated from the old First Division in 1983 and Hughton is determined to see the job through.

When asked if he could touch promotion, Hughton, who won the Championship title with Newcastle in 2010, said: "We all can.

"My response is to be as calm as possible and that no one is starting to look at games ahead and at targets when we haven't reached any yet.

"We would like to do it as quickly as possible. Until that happens you have to keep people as level-headed as possible. The focus has to be on Monday."

Huddersfield's televised game at Derby is a 5pm kick-off and Hughton said he was not sure if he will be watching.

"(I have) no plans at this moment," he added. "It's a big Monday. Irrespective of any result, mathematically we haven't achieved it.

"Until we achieve what we want we have to focus on what the game is. It'll be very much about our own game."

Second-bottom Wigan kept their survival hopes alive by fighting back from two goals down against Barnsley on Friday to seal back-to-back wins and still have it all to play for.

Newcastle, denied victory against Leeds on Friday by Chris Wood's stoppage-time equaliser, will bid to cement their automatic promotion place by taking three points at Ipswich.

Huddersfield, eight points behind Newcastle with a game in hand, can close to within five of them with four games remaining if Rafael Benitez's side slip up.

Fourth-placed Reading will be expecting another three points from their home game against Rotherham, while the pressure is on both Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday, who must win their games at home against Wolves and at QPR respectively, in order to stay ahead of Fulham.

Fulham, in seventh, can leapfrog both Leeds and Wednesday if they beat Aston Villa in a 2.45pm kick-off at Craven Cottage and both Yorkshire clubs lose. Preston must beat Norwich at Deepdale to keep their slim hopes of a top-six finish alive.

In-form Brentford are chasing their fifth win in six league matches at mid-table rivals Barnsley and Nottingham Forest must avoid defeat at Cardiff to ensure they do not slip into the bottom three.

Third-bottom Blackburn can climb out of the relegation zone if they beat Bristol City at home and Burton, who travel to Birmingham, fail to win.