Almiron misses final three games

Newcastle United have confirmed that Paraguay forward Miguel Almiron will miss the remaining three games of their Premier League season due to a hamstring injury.

The 25-year-old has been hugely impressive for the Magpies since his arrival in January from MLS outfit Atlanta United.

Almiron has yet to score for the Tynesiders but his influence has helped Rafa Benitez's side win seven league games since the turn of the year to ensure that they will be playing top-flight football again next season.

However, the pacy left-footer will now have to sit out the games against Brighton, Liverpool and Fulham, while hoping to be fit to feature for his country at the Copa America.

An official statement from the Magpies read: "Miguel will miss the rest of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in Saturday's 3-1 win over Southampton.

"He was withdrawn in the 64th minute against the Saints and, having been assessed by the club's medical staff, it has been confirmed that he will not be fit for the Magpies' final three matches of the campaign."

Benitez had earlier told the Chronicle while waiting on the verdict on Almiron: "He was massive for us from day one. He was giving everybody a lift with his pace, work-rate and his assists.

"We signed Almiron, then Rondon was playing better and Ayoze was playing better. Why? Because Almiron can run in behind, provide assists and then Rondon has more time – Ayoze is the same."

Without Almiron, Newcastle are 5/2 to win at Brighton on Saturday, with Perez 3/1 to score at any time in the game, while Rondon can be backed at 13/5.

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Hughton talks up Magpies clash

Brighton boss Chris Hughton accepts that his side now face a massive game at home to Newcastle United on Saturday, having narrowly lost 1-0 at Spurs.

A late Christian Eriksen strike denied Albion of a point at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and left the Seagulls just three points clear of the Premier League drop zone with three games to play.

And, with clashes with Arsenal and Manchester City to follow the visit of the Magpies, Hughton is only too well aware that a win is something of a necessity at the weekend.

He told reporters: "From our point of view, perhaps if we made a few better choices on the ball and managed the game a little bit better in the last period, then I think we come away with a result.

"To come here and put in a performance, albeit a gritty, defensive performance, it speaks volumes.

"We know we have to take that into Saturday's game, which now becomes our biggest game. We'll be up against a Newcastle team that have been good away from home and have a system they use very well.

"We'll need goals and what we'll need to do is win the game in whichever way possible."

Brighton, who have now failed to score in any of their last seven games in all competitions, are 6/5 to win on Saturday, with the draw priced at 21/10 and a 1-1 final scoreline available at 11/2.

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Pochettino hopeful of Eriksen stay

Mauricio Pochettino remains hopeful that Tottenham will be able to agree a new contract with playmaker Christian Eriksen, who was the matchwinner against Brighton.

The 27-year-old Denmark international netted an 88th minute winner in the 1-0 home victory over the Seagulls, a result which gave a huge boost to Spurs' hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premier League.

Eriksen is out of contract at the end of next season and has been linked with interest from both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but Pochettino believes talks about the player's future have yet to really get started.

He said: "It is a situation that is a very special situation, Christian is a special person, I think we are all special, different and we need to understand that.

"The timing for him or for the club to be agreeing something is maybe different to another player.

"I hope and I wish Christian can be with us in the future, but I think Christian and us, we are so open to talk and we will see what happens.

"I think it is so close to the end of the season, a lot of time to talk after and I think the most important thing now is for all the players to be focused and try to achieve the things we want.

"We have a lot of big things ahead and we need to be focused only to try and recover, train and compete."

Next up for Spurs is a visit from West Ham on Saturday, with the hosts 2/5 to win the game, 8/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline and 11/8 to keep a clean sheet.

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Poch eager for Lloris return

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says he is hopeful to have keeper Hugo Lloris back ahead of Tuesday night's Premier League clash with Brighton.

Spurs will be looking to bounce back after they suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the weekend, with the north Londoners still battling it out for a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.

France international Lloris missed the encounter against Pep Gaurdiola's side due to a slight muscle injury and faces a race against time to be ready for Tuesday's battle with Brighton.

Pochettino is hopeful, but the Argentine tactician won't risk pushing Lloris' return too soon, especially with two Champions League semi-final legs with Ajax to come.

"Lloris I hope yes, we are going to assess, we have a training session and we hope it is not a big issue, we hope he is going to be available," Pochettino said.

Midfield paring of Erik Lamela and Harry Winks will also be assessed ahead of the encounter with Brighton as they struggle with hamstring and groin problems respectively.

"Harry Winks we don't know because it is a problem that is one day very good, next day not very good, it is about assessing each day," Pochettino added.

Spurs are 2/7 to win, 5/1 to draw and 12/1 to lose against the Seagulls at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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Poch confirms Sissoko problem

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko is facing around a fortnight on the sidelines due to a groin strain sustained in the Champions League clash with Manchester City last week.

The 29-year-old France international had to be replaced just before half-time of a 4-3 defeat which was still enough for Spurs to reach the semi-finals in Europe, where they will face Ajax.

Sissoko sat out the subsequent 1-0 Premier League reverse to the Citizens last Saturday and is a definite absentee for the league visit of Brighton to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino also confirmed that late decisions will be taken on midfielder Harry Winks and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for the clash with the Seagulls, but it is Sissoko who is his main concern.

He told reporters: "Moussa Sissoko is not going to be fit, maybe for the next two weeks. We hope he can recover before, but I am not so optimistic."

Meanwhile, Pochettino is confident that his players will not lose focus for the job of securing a top-four league finish, despite the looming prospect of their Champions League last-four tie.

He added: "We are not thinking of Ajax. We showed at Manchester City that we are thinking in the now and this competition, the Premier League.

"Now our energy is in Brighton. It is so clear that we have two objectives – one is to be in the top four at the end of the season and the other is to beat Ajax, but we need to go step-by-step.

"The players, they know it. I think their behaviour and mentality is perfect."

Spurs are available at 4/11 to defeat Brighton on Tuesday evening and are 11/2 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with Son Heung-Min 1/1 to score at any time in the game.

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Perez pondering his options

In-form Newcastle United striker Ayoze Perez has admitted that he could be tempted to leave the club this summer, as he mulls his options for next season.

The 25-year-old Spaniard has been in prime form for the Magpies in recent weeks, scoring seven goals in his last nine games, including a hat-trick in the 3-1 weekend victory at home to Southampton.

However, Perez has now confirmed that he could be open to offers come the end of the season, having joined Newcastle from Tenerife in the summer of 2014.

He reportedly told The Mirror: "In the summer there are going to be options. That means I have done something well.

"I'll be up for hearing what is coming, but it doesn't mean I am going to leave 100 per cent at the end of the season. It is going to be a difficult decision and depends on a lot of things."

Perez is under contract with the Tynesiders until the summer of 2021, having netted 46 goals in 191 appearances in all competitions for the Magpies.

He had spoken about a potential return to his homeland a matter of weeks ago, telling El Chiringuito TV: "I believe in cycles, there comes a moment where you consider things.

"There comes a time for a change and, after five years, that time has probably come. To return to my country with a big team would be something good for my career."

Next up for Newcastle and Perez is a Saturday teatime trip to the Amex Stadium to take on an out-of-form Brighton side who have not scored in their last six games.

The Magpies 12/5 to claim all three points on the South Coast, while they are 15/2 to win the game by a 1-0 scoreline.

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Hughton: We’ve not downed tools

Chris Hughton accepts that his Brighton team have endured their worst spell of the campaign at exactly the wrong time.

The Seagulls have failed to score in their last five Premier League matches although Saturday's goalless draw against Wolves at Molineux did at least bring their four-match losing run in the top-flight to an end.

Brighton, who are currently available at 6/1 to be relegated this season, visit Tottenham on Tuesday and are 9/1 to beat Mauricio Pochettino's team.

Hughton said: "I don't think anybody could accuse a group of players at Wolves on Saturday of it not meaning enough or downing tools. Absolutely that's not the case.

"We are a team of our level playing in the Premier League and up until probably the last month or so we've been in a decent enough position in the league.

"Probably our poorest period came at the worst time. But that happens when you're playing in a division as difficult as this and when you are the level of club that we are. We have to find formulas and pull out results to get the points that we need."

Albion have taken nine points from a possible 42 in 2019 but Hughton is refusing to accepting that defeat at Spurs is inevitable.

The 60-year-old, who won two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup during his playing days with Spurs, added: "I was there all in all for 27 years and I have lots of memories as a player and as a coach.

"I'm looking forward to going to the new stadium. How much I'll enjoy it will be down to the performance the team put in but I'm hoping I can enjoy it."

Anthony Knockaert is suspended for the game and Davy Propper injured.

Hughton praises Seagulls spirit

Brighton head coach Chris Hughton was pleased with the efforts of his players after the Seagulls earned a potentially precious point from a goalless draw at Wolves.

Albion ended a run of five straight defeats in all competitions with a dogged display at Molineux, although they were unable to end a run of six games without a goal which has seen them far too close for comfort to the relegation places.

Hughton, though, was happy with the spirt shown by his side and was content with a hard-fought share of the spoils which moved his team three pints clear of the drop zone.

He told Sky Sports: "We asked the players for a response and we certainly got that with what they were prepared to give and how hard they were prepared to work.

"It's hard coming here as they've got so many good footballers. You know if you open up too much, they can hurt you. We could've been better with our link play, the times that we broke.

"But we knew it would be difficult and we knew if we could keep a clean sheet we would give ourselves a chance.

"For long periods we've been okay in the division and we're on the back of two defeats that hurt us, and people questioned our confidence.

"But you can't become a bad team overnight. This has hopefully set us up for what will be another four difficult games."

Brighton are now priced at 9/2 to be relegated this season, while they are 1/7 to avoid the drop and maintain their Premier League status.

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Hughton pinning hopes on leaders

Chris Hughton feels he has enough experienced players in the Brighton dressing room to save them from Premier League relegation.

The Seagulls, 9/4 to be relegated, have lost their last four matches in the top-flight, all without scoring, and are now just two points outside the drop zone.

Tuesday's defeat to fellow strugglers Cardiff City has left the south coast outfit in the mire as they prepare to travel to Wolves on Saturday.

Nuno Espirito Santo's still have something to play for as they battle for a top seven finish, which could be good enough for European football, so there is plenty at stake at Molineux.

Hughton has called on his side to play without fear when they travel to the Midlands, believing the experienced members of his squad can help the rest of his players keep their cool.

Skipper Bruno has been brought back into the side in the hope he can help to lead Brighton away from their current position in the Premier League table.

Hughton told the Argus: "If I look at the game now, maybe when I managed at Newcastle we had probably four or five strong characters, maybe more.

"Speaking to other managers, the changing room is different now. Perhaps the screamers, shouters and organisers, who would get hold of people… your Nicky Butts and Nolans, there aren't so many in the game.

"I've got enough compared to others. I have strong characters and leader-types in the changing-room, more than probably most teams. Other teams will be different and have them in abundance, but we have enough.

"With Bruno, part of the reason was more for his experience. He's always been a different type of leader. He's not someone who'll scream and shout, dig you out. But he's someone the players look up to and he leads by example."

Brighton have at least been given a boost with no fresh injury concerns for Saturday's game, although they will be without Anthony Knockaert due to suspension.

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‘Proper fight’ for Seagulls

Chris Hughton acknowledges that defeat at home to Cardiff City means his Brighton side are in a 'proper fight' to preserve their Premier League status.

A stunning Nathaniel Mendez-Laing goal gave Cardiff a half-time advantage at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday and they cemented the win with a header from Sean Morrison in the second period.

It ensured Neil Warnock's team moved to within two points of Brighton. Cardiff are in 18th place on 31 points with four games left, while Brighton have got five games remaining.

Brighton have conceded seven goals in two home games without reply following their 5-0 thumping from Bournemouth at the weekend.

With Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City amongst their five remaining games, Hughton knows their position has become perilous now.

"It's a reflection of where we are. We had a lot of possession in their half but we are not scoring to get that breakthrough and we are putting ourselves under pressure," said the Brighton manager.

"We are on the back of two poor home defeats. We don't have a choice and we have a fight on our hands. This is a proper fight. We have to make sure we turn it round by staying together, digging deep and making ourselves hard to beat."

Brighton are 9/4 to be relegated, with Cardiff now 1/3.

Only relegated Fulham (six) and Huddersfield (four) have won fewer Premier League points in 2019 than Brighton (eight) so far. Hughton's side have now lost three consecutive home league games for the first time in over three years.

Brighton are 9/2 to get back on track by winning at Wolves on Saturday, while Cardiff are 14/1 to take three points from title chasing Liverpool when they visit the Welsh capital on Sunday.

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