The play-offs are almost here. It’s Derby Vs Brighton over two legs. Ahead of the ties, I have interviewed Scott McCarthy of Seagulls blog wearebrighton.com.
First of all, how has the season gone and has it been how you expected?
After all the upheaval of the summer with Poyet going and all the fall out from that, I think most Brighton fans would have bitten your arm off to be in the play-offs again. A top ten finish seemed far more realistic at the start of the season and even back at the beginning of April most people thought that would be as good as it got. The squad is weaker than last seasons and we have also had a pretty disastrous run with injuries as well so it is a real credit to Oscar Garcia in his first season in English football to have got us into the top six. We’re easily the underdogs but are in great form and as Palace showed last season, once you get into the lottery anything can happen.
Your team has the highest amount of clean sheets in the division, what has been the main reason for that?
Consistency really. The back five has picked itself for most of the season with Tomasz Kuszczak, Bruno, Gordon Greer, Matt Upson and Stephen Ward playing the majority of the time. The fact that our End of Season awards saw Upson win player of the season, Ward finish second and Kuszczak third says everything about how important the defence is and those three in particular have been outstanding.
Who are the star players that Derby fans should be weary of?
Leonardo Ulloa is the man who gets the majority of our goals so he is probably the one. Kazenga LuaLua and Will Buckley can both make things happen down the flanks but if we are to beat you, then it will probably be based on the aforementioned back five performing well.
Lastly, what are your predictions for the semi-finals and eventual winner of the play-offs?
With the squad they have QPR should have gone up automatically so they should be hot favourites. I’ve been really impressed by what Schteve McClaren has done since taking over at Pride Park or whatever it is called now, so I imagine it will be you and QPR in the final and hopefully we’ll be hearing excuses from Harry Redknapp afterwards about how he needs more money, is down to the bare bones and worked a miracle to even get QPR into the top six. The pressure is well and truly off us as I don’t think many people expected us to be there and it’s quite refreshing to know that whatever happens, it cannot be worse than losing to Palace and all the fall out that came from it!
Thank you to Scott McCarthy for taking the time to answer the questions.
My answers for We Are Brighton on the Rams can be found here.