As Brighton prepare to play in the top-flight of English football after a 34-year absence, a lot of people will be thinking how will they prepare. The answer is with a tough pre-season, which will see them play a host of different teams from countries like Germany, Spain and England.
The Seagulls will begin their preparations for the Premier League by flying out to their Austrian training base between the 8th and 15th July. During their time in Austria, Brighton will play a friendly against Fortuna Dusseldorf, on the 14th July. Fortuna Dusseldorf plays in the 2nd tier of German football in the 2. Bundesliga. They finished 11th in the 2. Bundesliga last year and one of their most well-known players is a striker, Didier Ya Konan who has over 25 caps for the Ivory Coast.
Then on the 22nd July, The Albion return to the UK to play against fellow Sussex side Crawley. The League Two side in May appointed a new manager in ex-Liverpool and Australian winger Harry Kewell. Crawley finished 19th In League Two last season but will be hoping to do a lot better this season under the management of Kewell.
A few days later, on the 25th July, they are on their travels again this time to Southend United, who are managed by ex- Hull boss Phil Brown. Southend finished seventh in League One last season, missing out on the playoffs by a point and a couple of goals. The Blues most well-known player is their captain, ex-West Ham centre-back Anton Ferdinand.
From the look of Southend’s squad and from watching them last season they could well provide The Seagulls with a stern test. Southend also signed Brighton youngster Christian Walton on loan in April on an emergency loan to play in goal for their final few games of last season.
Brighton then travels to Norwich City on the 29th July. The Canaries finished eighth last season in the Championship and beat The Seagulls 2-0 at Carrow Road after Brighton had already secured promotion. Norwich has plenty of well-known players in their ranks including Cameroon Jerome, Matt Jarvis and England U21’s winger Jacob Murphy.
Norwich will give The Albion a good game, due to the squad and also being under the management of German Daniel Farke, who was appointed as Head Coach recently. The squad will want to impress Farke and stake a claim for a place in his starting eleven for their opening game in the Championship against last year’s playoff semi-finalist’s Fulham.
In August, Brighton faces two quality Spanish sides who had good finishes in their respective divisions last season. The first of these see Albion fly out to play La Liga new boys Girona on the 1st August.
Girona finished 2nd in the Spanish Segunda Division, behind winners Levante. The Spanish side possesses a number of good players but one name will stand out to Brighton fans. Of course, I’m talking about Francisco Sandaza, who was part of Brighton’s League One title winning side in 2010-11.
Girona will be a challenging test for The Albion as in the Spanish Segunda last season they scored the most goals in the division with 65 goals. It is also rumoured that they are loaning seven Manchester City players including Patrick Roberts and Jason Denayer. Their first signing was one of intent in Gorka Iraizoz, formally of Athletic Bilbao.
The last of Brighton’s friendlies see them entertain Atletico Madrid at The AMEX on the 6th August, in their only home fixture of the pre-season. Diego Simeone’s side finished third in La Liga last season and reached the Semi-final of the Champions League before being knocked out by their fierce rivals Real Madrid. The Spanish side possesses quality throughout their squad which includes the like of top goalscorer last season Antoine Griezmann and ex-Chelsea and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres to name a couple.
Atletico will be fantastic preparation for The Seagulls, just 6 days before they play Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in their opening Premier League fixture. The Spanish side also have a similar style of play to Manchester City and will give Brighton the chance to play against top class opposition.