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Positive signings make Brighton dark horses for a big 2015-16

| 31.07.2015

Six points and just two places was all that separated Brighton and Hove Albion from a drop to the third tier in 2014-15, but the campaign ahead could be a very different story.

At a price of Evens to finish in the top half of the table, the bookies clearly feel Chris Hughton can lead the south coast outfit to a solid season.

Things could be finely balanced though, with Hughton opting for a number of youngsters from abroad to bolster his attack at the Amex.

Highly rated Jack Harper has arrived from Real Madrid, in what could turn out to be a tidy piece of business.

The 19-year-old found the net four times in seven UEFA Youth League games for Real Madrid U19s, and looks to have a real touch of class about him.

With another season ahead where he was set to be either confined to the Madrid second or third team, or a spell on loan elsewhere, the Spaniard born to Scottish parents chose to opt for a permanent switch to England.

Another youngster out to prove a point in the Seagulls frontline is Vahid Hambo.

The Finland U19 international arrives in Sussex from Inter Turku, having registered nine goals in 11 appearances for the Veikkausliiga outfit, registering a brace of goals in three straight games in April.

While he may not slot straight into the starting XI at Brighton, he clearly has some goalscoring nous about him.

Their spending spree on foreign imports doesn’t end there though.

The arrival of fellow Finn Niki Maenpaa will bolster their goalkeeping options, providing competition for David Stockdale between the sticks.

Liam Rosenior has signed from Hull, providing plenty of experience in the full back position, while Tomer Hemed bagged eight goals in La Liga last year, so can certainly deliver at the top level.

While it may take time for all their new arrivals to bed in, it’s been hard not to be impressed by the way Hughton has gone about adding to his squad.

A lot will depend on whether the south coast outfit can keep hold of centre-back Lewis Dunk who has reportedly been subject to a £4m bid from Fulham.

All told, on paper they have a team that can be very competitive in the Championship in 2015-16.

The 20th place finish last term can be written off with fourth and sixth places secured in the two previous campaigns.

If everyone gels quickly it could be worth an interest in the 5/1 that Albion make it three times in four seasons that they break into the play-off places.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.