Hughton guards against complacency after good run of results

Premier League manager of the month Chris Hughton fears Brighton could be dragged back into relegation danger, despite their impressive surge up the table.

In-form Albion have climbed to the relative comfort of 10th position on the back of a five-game unbeaten run which has yielded 11 points from a possible 15, leading to Hughton winning the award on Friday for the first time in his career.

The Seagulls currently have a healthy seven-point cushion on the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton but boss Hughton is wary that their circumstances could quickly change.

“We’re in a position in the league where the changes from one game to another can mean the difference between three or four places,” said Hughton.

“We’ve seen teams that have been in trouble and have got out of that, we’ve seen teams that have gone the other way and that’s only a consequence of losing two games or so.

“You know in this division and where we are in this division, you lose two games on the spin and it can change dramatically.

“What we’ve got to be is guarded of that.

“This is certainly the best form that we’ve been in this season. It should see us in confident form and confident mood.

“The problem with this division is that the next game is always going to be a really tough one, and that’s what we’re up against on Saturday.”

Last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal was a third successive home victory for Brighton.

During the past six weeks, they have also beaten West Ham and Swansea, earned draws at relegation-threatened clubs Southampton and Stoke, as well as setting up an FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United.

Their record against weekend opponents Everton – who are one place below on goal difference – is less impressive.

Albion’s only victory in nine league meetings with the Toffees came in February 1982 after they were denied all three points at the Amex Stadium in October following a late Wayne Rooney penalty in a 1-1 draw.

On the whole it has been another frustrating season for fans of the Merseyside club but Hughton feels Sam Allardyce’s side remain dangerous opponents.

“They are a team that have a lot of quality, a lot of know-how in the side and a team that’s capable of picking up very good results,” Hughton added.

“We know Sam’s teams. He works very hard with his teams, he has an effective way of playing.

“The reason why they brought him in was to get results and I’m quite sure that he will do that.”

Seagulls full-back Ezequiel Schelotto, who was forced off following a heavy challenge against the Gunners, will be fit to feature at Goodison Park.

Long-term absentee Steve Sidwell (back and ankle) remains sidelined.