Dean Hammond has revealed how Albion can follow in the first-season footsteps of Leicester City – as two of his former clubs go head-to-head in the Premier League.

The midfielder believes Chris Hughton’s men have the strong spirit which can help them survive in the top flight, just like the promoted Foxes back in 2014-15.

Hammond, now back in Sussex and keen to stay in football after calling time on his playing days, recalls how Leicester got through a tough first winter back among the elite after a flying start fizzled out.

That resilience and belief enabled them to stage a big finish and maintain Premier status, which will be Albion’s goal this term.

What followed was the surely never-to-be-repeated fairytale when Leicester won the Premier League at odds comparable to those on Elvis Presley being found alive.

What Hammond was asked about by The Argus is how they coped with that first season – and his experiences can apply to Hughton’s men this term.

The former Albion skipper, from Hastings, said: “We tried to take momentum and the feelgood factor from the season when we were promoted.

“We looked to the experience within our squad, players like Paul Konchesky, David Nugent and Kasper Schmeichel.

“We tried to keep to our style and still play on the front foot and attack teams. That’s what we were all about and what had got us there.

“When we lost our way in the middle of the season, we probably tried to adapt our style too much.

“But I think we understood that, realistically, we were probably going to concede more goals that we had before and not score as many.”

Albion optimism does not appear to have been dented by an opening defeat to Manchester City.

Nor should it be, Hammond maintains. He said: “I watched the game against Manchester City on television and I thought defensively they looked very good. They had half-chances from set-pieces.

“They were playing against probably the best team in the country.

“I believe Brighton will have a good season. They will be fine.

“There were positives from the first game and it will be interesting to see how the game at Leicester goes.

“Leicester have an aggressive, front foot style, lots of pace and they like to attack.

“Brighton can expect Leicester to play very much like they did when they won the Premier League – very aggressive and playing reasonably direct to Jamie Vardy. It will be a test for Brighton.”

Three years on, Hammond still remembers those first weeks after winning promotion vividly.

He said: “We signed Leo (Ulloa) from Brighton at the start of the season and he did very well.

“We were at home to Everton to start with and we just didn’t want to lose. We got a late equaliser and drew 2-2.

“Then we had Chelsea away and then we drew with Arsenal. We knew our home form would be important so that was a good point for us.

"We won at Stoke and then we had a 5-3 win at home to Manchester United which people seem to remember. That really boosted our confidence.”

The Argus:

But then things got tougher, starting with a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

All teams have barren runs and they can feel worse with the longer gaps between games in the Premier League.

But Leicester took it to extremes by taking just two points from a possible 39.

While Albion will hope not to suffer that sort of bleak winter, there will be testing periods along the way.

Hammond said: “It was new to us. The season before, like Brighton now, we got used to winning.

“But, when things got tougher, we knew we had a strong group. It was a smallish squad and quite tight-knit.

“The other thing that helped was that even the games we were losing were pretty close.

“I don’t think we ever lost by more than two goals. When we lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, we had two one-on-ones before they scored.

“So we remained confident all along that we were not too far away.

The Argus:

“Nigel Pearson was very good and we had some experience in the squad.

“People like Matty Upson, who had come from Brighton, and Esteban Cambiasso, who hadn’t played in the Premier League but had huge experience of the game.

“We used to have team meetings and just tried to keep confidence high that we would get out of it.

“The hardest thing to do in the Premier League is score goals. But we were having chances – and we started taking them again. At the end of the season we won seven games out of nine.

“We remained strong as a group all along and Brighton have got that too.”

Hammond will keep tabs on today’s game from this part of the country.

He went back to Leicester for a while after parting company with Sheffield United, but has moved his family back to near Brighton in the last fortnight.

He said: “Technically, I’m finished with playing. I was at Leicester working with the under-23s.

“I was doing some player mentoring and I actually played for the under-23s. I went back for pre-season this summer in the same role.

“I’m trying to pass on my experience and I’m doing my coaching badges.

“I’m just trying to find a new path within football, a new career. I’m interested in coaching and I also like the recruitment side of the game.”

He added: “I want to get back into football and I want to do something that helps youngsters coming through.

“I’ve done some media as well so it’s really just about staying in the game.”