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Following three wins in a row, Brighton have sprung to the top of the Championship and are now favourites for the title. Newcastle do not play until Friday, giving Brighton the chance to go 5 points clear, at least temporarily.
They face a potentially difficult trip to Molineux though, to face Wolves, who before their defeat at Bristol City had managed 5 wins in a row. Here we look at 2 key tactical battles which could decide the outcome of this very important game in the EFL Championship.
On paper, this is complete chalk and cheese. Knockaert is a former France under-21 international who is regarded as a full international player in waiting. Flashy, with a turn of pace and terrific skill, he has made mincemeat of many full-backs in this league.
Doherty is a right-back by trade and is filling in on the left-hand side at present. At first glance, one would say this is a battle which can only go one way. However, Knockaert has a penchant for cutting in onto his favoured left foot, something a right-footed full-back will be much more comfortable in dealing with.
Look out for Doherty getting tackles in on Knockaert with regularity in this game, something which may well frustrate the Brighton winger who is used to being substituted.
Brighton may well decide to go with two strikers up front again in this game, meaning Wolves skipper Danny Batth will not necessarily be able to position himself onto Murray.
Batth sits on the right of the two centre-backs and as such will most likely look after Hemed or whoever supports Murray, who is likely to play against Kortney Hause on the other side. Murray is a wily, experienced striker who knows how to win free-kicks and can definitely finish when he gets the chance.
Hause is only 21 and is still learning his trade. However, this will be his 27th game of the season and his partnership with Batth is coming along nicely. He will need his captain’s help in this game and will be hoping that Doherty can indeed stop Knockaert. If he can’t, then Hause will be his next dribbling target, with runs into the box potentially leaving Murray free.
Brighton are certainly a class above Wolves right now, but with home advantage and a new found confidence, the West Midlands side will feel they definitely have a chance here. Winning these two battles would go a long way in them achieving a result which both themselves and Newcastle crave for.