Boss Chris Hughton has told his players to have “no fear” as Albion return to the top flight of English football for the first time in 34 years.

The Seagulls’ last home game among the elite was a 1-0 defeat by Manchester City.

The same opponents – and hot favourites for the Premier League title under Pep Guardiola – return south today (5.30pm) to the sold-out Amex with Hughton urging his troops to embrace the 38 tests facing them to achieve the goal this season of survival.

Hughton, delivering a message to them, declared to The Argus: “No fear. Play with intelligence. We are going to be playing against teams that are better teams than us.

“And there will be some really tough days, particularly away from home.

“But go into the season with confidence and no fear, and be very much ready for the challenges ahead.”

Hughton believes his 10-1 outsiders are prepared to go toe-to-toe with City, who have won their last six opening day fixtures and are 3-1 on favourites with bookies to make it seven.

“Fortunately for us, there isn’t any player in the squad who doesn’s know the Premier League and quality of the players,” he said.

“So it’s not like going into the unknown.

“But it will be a tough challenge and they need to make sure that they are up and ready for it.”

Albion expect a record crowd for their Premier League debut of around 30,400, just above the 30,338 figure for Bristol City’s visit in April.