SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls presence is good for Gus Poyet

Old enemy: Brighton a striker    Craig Mackail-Smith is in hot form this season
Old enemy: Brighton a striker Craig Mackail-Smith is in hot form this season
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BRIGHTON manager Gus Poyet welcomes Sheffield Wednesday’s presence in the Championship.

The Seagulls boss admires the Owls’ tradition and believes it is right that they should be in the upper echelons of the game.

“Teams that have so much history, you want them to stay as high as possible in English football; when you have the support of 20,000 or 30,000 people, you really want them at the top,” he says.

“Not everyone can be there, with only 20 places in the Premier League, but you want them at least in the second tier.

“They have started quite decently. They have imposed their game in a few games, especially towards the end, so it’s a different test for us.

“We haven’t played a game of this kind this season so far. I hope we can impose our football. That will be the key.

“It’s clear that they have got a style and know how they can win games. They are not going to surprise us.

“If they impose their game they can have a very good season. They have got a style and it works.

“I respect other ways of playing and there are things we need to be very careful of, otherwise there is a great chance we won’t win the game.”

Dave Jones returns the compliment, saying: “Brighton are a good side. They play good football, try to do it the right way, like most teams in this division. Everybody has a different style.

“They’ve got a fantastic stadium now. They’re on a high, a club that’s on the move. They’ll be as difficult as anybody we play in this division.”

Neither side has found goals hard to come by, which suggests that though the game is not on TV - it was switched to avoid a clash with the local university’s Freshers’ Fair - it could be an entertaining spectacle.

Jones acknowledges: “Like any Championship game, it has all the ingredients of being a good one. They way we both play suggests we’ll have a go at each other. If that means it’s going to be an open game, so be it.

“We’ll try to nullify their strengths as much as they’ll try to nullify ours. Every game is going to be hard for us. It’s the same for everybody. I think this division is wide open. I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest that anybody is going to push away.”

The Owls boss again made light of the fact that a win for either side would put them top, at least before rivals play tomorrow: “It’s what matters at the end, not what goes on now. As a club, we’re a work in progress. So many things are being changed and being implemented.”

Jones has not finished in the loan market, but Poyet had the busier deadline day, signing four players. But the Seagulls manager has used only 12 players in his starting line-ups this season, and only one of the new boys played in the September 1 game at Burnley - Andrea Orlandi, from Swansea, who went on as a sub.

The other new arrivals are Stephen Dobbie (Swansea), David Lopez (Athletic Bilbao) and Dean Hammond (loan from Southampton).

To Wednesday fans there is a more familiar face in the likely side for tonight’s game: Craig Mackail-Smith, who was a thorn in their side when he was a Peterborough player.

The Scotland international was bought for an initial £2.5 million in the summer of last year and scored a modest t11 goals last season. But he has hit four in the last two games - two each in a 5-1 victory against Barnsley and a 3-1 win at Burnley, including a brilliant overhead kick past Lee Grant at Turf Moor.