Albion face their biggest game yet in the Premier League against relegation rivals Cardiff at the Amex on Tuesday night.

Chief sports reporter Andy Naylor quizzed Chris Hughton on some key topics during his pre-match press conference.

The Argus: Following on from Anthony Knockaert's red card against Bournemouth, you had Dale (Stephens) sent-off at Cardiff (above) earlier in the season in more controversial circumstances.

How important is it for the players to keep their heads?

Hugely important. I've no doubts it will be a very competitive game. All the games we've had against Cardiff in recent years have all been very competitive, particularly with the nature of how they play.

It's important that we keep our composure, that we stick to a game plan, and it's important that we don't allow ourselves to get frustrated.

It might be that we can play well enough to get an early goal which would relieve a bit of pressure from supporters but it might take longer than that.

We might go behind. We've got to stick to a game plan and very much make sure we play our game, without influence.

Supporters will want and expect to see intensity as well?

The ironic thing is what the supporters expect we expect as well, the team and staff.

It's the only way that you win a game - not always - by playing well enough and having enough intent to win a game in which ever way that is.

Last season was seen as a triumph and what has been, in quite a lot of respects, a similar season is being seen almost as a disaster. How do you account for that?

Certainly we don't see it as a disaster. At this moment we are five points clear of the bottom three and, if we were to win, that puts us eight points clear.

We very much see it as a season that we are still learning, still playing against real quality teams, and there are more experienced teams, bigger clubs than us, teams that have spent far more money than us, that have been around us in that part of the table for a lot of the season.

We never thought it would be anything other than a very competitive division. At this moment you have got, in particular, one club that have already been relegated (Fulham), that have found that, spent big money in the summer.

"They have found how hard and competitive this division is. Certainly we don't see it as negative. Ultimately it's about that last day of the season and where we've managed to finish and how we can look back on the season.

In the first wave of summer signings a couple made big impacts - Pascal Gross was player of the season, Maty Ryan (below). You haven't had one of the second wave of summer signings make a really big impact like that?

The Argus: No, I think that's fair to say. For some - we found it with Davy Propper last season who came onto, for me, have a very good season - but started slower.

Probably what Pascal had in his favour and Maty and Davy was in any period where they might not have been playing as well, they were still in the team.

I think probably where we are at the moment we have more options.

For some of the new players, a Bernardo for instance, if he had been playing through any learning process or difficult period, he would have come through and maybe played the games.

I think it's because the squad at the moment has been more competitive and I've had more options.

A lot of supporters are blaming the system change to 4-3-3 from December. How much do you think that is or isn't the case? And how much of it is a balance between improving one area to sacrifice another?

That is always the balance and I remember changing the system. We'd won, I think, a couple of games, with the system we were playing and one of the arguments there was that we weren't playing particularly well.

I think a change in system there saw us, certainly on the ball, being better.

Systems is one thing, it's about a player. Pascal we've missed in a position we've played him (number ten) so often. But we can always talk about formations and for a change of a 4-4-1-1 to a 4-3-3, it depends how you look at it.

It gives me three players with more opportunities to score - your wide players are playing higher up.

We can always talk about systems. It's about performance, the quality of the teams we are playing against, competition, and for me not so much about formation.

It worked so well with Pascal in that ten role last season. You look through the squad and pretty much every position is covered but not an obvious replacement number ten. Is that a shortfall?

Yes. Earlier in the season we played Solly (March) there for a while. No doubt Solly's best position is in the wider areas.

Apart from a 4-4-2 where you are playing two number nines up front, we probably don't have really that natural number ten.

Alireza (Jahanbakhsh) can play and has played off the front but we certainly don't have that natural ten that can play in there.

We are talking about the here and now but is that something, going forward, that you would like to address?

Yes but certainly at this moment what is more important is that we finish this season as strong as we can.