Hughton hopeful Glenn Murray will be fit for Brighton's Premier League opener

Chris Hughton is confident striker Glenn Murray will be fit for Albion's Premier League curtain-raiser at Watford next Saturday.

Saturday, 4th August 2018, 1:19 am
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:15 pm
Glenn Murray is expected to be fit for Brighton's Premier League opener. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Frontman Murray netted 12 league goals for the Seagulls last season but was forced off after just 13 minutes, replaced by Tomer Hemed, in his side's 2-1 pre-season friendly win over Nantes at the Amex on Friday.

Despite the striker facing a fight to make Brighton's Premier League opener at the Hornets, Hughton is confident his frontman will be available for selection. He said: "We’re very confident about Watford. He took a whack on his back in training yesterday and probably what’s happened is tonight’s come too soon.

“I think it was quite obvious early in the game that he was struggling a bit. It’s disappointing and we probably needed a couple of days, but I’m quite sure he’ll be fine for next week.”

Murray’s injury paved the way for Israeli international Hemed to stake a claim for a starting spot at Vicarage Road. The forward did not disappoint, netting in the first half and providing an assist for Pascal Gross early in the second.

Hemed's performance was praised by boss Hughton. He added: “It was a good game for him to come into. We certainly broke very well and he got into a good position for the first goal. I thought he did well.”

Summer signing Florin Andone and Jurgen Locadia were both missing from Brighton's squad for the final pre-season friendly with Nantes, with Hughton providing an update on his strike duo. “Jurgen (Locadia) is back in training, with Florin we’re just having to manage him a little bit.

“He came in with an injury, which we were aware of, he’s back in training but we’ve had to manage his minutes a little bit. What’s more important is that we have them fresh and available for a longer period.”

Albion supporters were given the chance to see new record signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh and midfielder Yves Bissouma feature for the first time at the Amex.

The pair were given a 20 minute cameo but Hughton felt they had little time too make an impact.

He said: “It was probably a difficult time to come on because I think when Alizera (Jahanbakhsh) and Yves (Bissouma) came on it was during Nantes' better spell, so certainly most of what they had to do was more defensive. I think we’ll have to wait and see a little bit more of him.

“The reason why we’ve brought Ali in is because he’ll give us good offensive options and we look forward to seeing them.”