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Amex form key for Albion
Belief is building that Albion can mount another Championship promotion challenge.
They have climbed to eighth, their highest position of the season, and Oscar Garcia has several key players back in contention after injury.
The outlook is encouraging heading into four matches in 12 days over the festive period.
One word of caution though as the Seagulls prepare to host Huddersfield at The Amex. Their home form will almost certainly have to improve to make it into the Premier League.
Of the 30 clubs promoted from the Championship in the last ten seasons, only two (West Ham 2011-12) and Watford (2005-06) have gone up with a better away record than at home.
They both got there through the play-offs, not automatically. In other words, a strong home record is pretty much a must.
West Ham's relatively modest form at Upton Park two seasons ago can be attributed to them being the big scalp in the division that year, so opponents raised their game.
Albion are not the big scalp in the Championship but they face a similar problem in terms of the opponents' mindset. The Amex is a lovely stadium with an inviting pitch - lovely and inviting for visitors too.
The support, although numerically top of the table, is not intimidating either, so The Amex is a nice place for teams to come and play.
That culture needs to change. It is too easy for opponents to avoid returning home empty-handed.
Six out of ten of them so far have gone away with something, a point or three.
Albion's early defeat at The Amex by Derby can be forgiven. Oscar was still getting his feet under the table then but the Seagulls capitulated in the second half against Nottingham Forest and were dismal earlier this month in that shock defeat by Barnsley.
Even with the uplifting win over Leicester which followed they have dropped ten points out of the last 18 at The Amex.
It is quite a contrast to their exceptional record away from home. They have lost just once since the opening day of the season and are currently unbeaten in five matches on their travels.
They have kept clean sheets at Reading, QPR, Wigan and Middlesbrough, which is no mean feat. The dig-in win at Boro last Saturday has lifted their away points tally to 16, one more than they have collected at The Amex.
History and common sense suggests the balance needs redressing.
It can happen, especially if Albion start as positively as they have in the last two games after their subdued opening against Barnsley. Fast starts will inspire the crowd.
The blueprint is there. Albion's form under Gus Poyet at The Amex in the first half of last season was sketchy as well before a ten-match unbeaten run after Christmas became instrumental in a top six finish.
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