Albion head into international break in high spirits, ready to work ahead of 'hectic' six weeks
Chris Hughton believes Brighton & Hove Albion go into the international break in high spirits and will use the period to work with his side and ready themselves for a 'hectic' end of the year.
The end of November and December sees the eighth-placed Seagulls play nine times in five weeks and includes tough tests against Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea.
As well as that, they face an eagerly-anticipated derby with Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace and crucial games against Huddersfield, Burnley, Watford and Newcastle.
It will be their most testing spell so far, but having gone into the international period on the back of three points and virtually injury-free, Hughton says they are in good shape and that competition for places will be key over the next two months.
And despite starting XI mainstays Shane Duffy, Maty Ryan and Davey Propper away on international duty, the work will continue at Albion's Lancing training ground.
Hughton said: "It's certainly better going into the break on the back of a win. There is no doubt of that, that feeling going in lasts a touch longer. If you'd gone into it on the back of a defeat then you are going to lose some players and it becomes a bit destructive.
"We lose a few, but we will use the period well and you have to. It's a good chance to get some games and get some players games (behind closed doors) as we will be going into a hectic period when we will need the squad we have got.
"We go into a very heavy and difficult six weeks after the international break and have a lot of difficult games in that December period and probably that period will say something about what we are like as a side.
"We know things can change as you can be in a very healthy position and pick up a few injuries in a very short period of time, but at this moment, Steve Sidwell is the only injury and we have real good competition for places.
"I think what you want as a manager always is when picking the bench is as difficult as picking the team and at the moment we have real good competition."