Tom Heaton insists form counts for nothing as Bristol City prepare to take on Brighton
Tom Heaton reckons the formbook will count for nothing when bottom-of-the-table Bristol City take on Championship play-off contenders Brighton and Hove Albion at Ashton Gate tonight.
Short-priced favourites with the nation’s bookmakers to beat the Robins, the Seagulls arrive in Bristol as the division’s form team.
Gus Poyet’s men have won four of their last five games and are up to sixth in the table after trouncing Huddersfield Town 4-1 at the weekend.
But City goalkeeper Heaton remains unfazed by Brighton’s burgeoning reputation and insists the Seagulls can go the same way as Watford and Barnsley.
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Both came to Ashton Gate in outstanding form, only to leave empty-handed after losing to Sean O’Driscoll’s rejuvenated team.
Despite their lowly position, City have won four home fixtures on the bounce and Heaton declared: “We are not going into any games with an inferiority complex any more.
“No-one is thinking ‘we’re bottom of the league’ and other teams now know they are going to have to do something special to get a result against us.
“We may be at the wrong end of the table, but we can sense the change in us and it is breeding confidence.
“That confidence means we are concentrating on what we can do rather than looking at other results and worrying about the opposition. Barnsley were unbeaten in nine games and Watford were the stand-out team when we played them in January – yet we still beat both of them.
“People talk about Brighton being in great form but, if you look at our results and performances over the last eight or nine games, you can say the same about us.”
Since returning to the Championship two seasons ago, Brighton have comfortably beaten City in all three meetings between the sides.
Poyet’s team is technically one of the best currently operating outside of the Premier League and Brighton have carved out a reputation as an excellent passing side.
But Heaton argues City can turn that to their advantage.
He explained: “Brighton kept the ball very well against us earlier in the season, but possession does not win football matches, goals do. They can have all the ball they like so long as they don’t hurt us.
“It was the same when we played Watford. They dominated possession for long periods, but we were more effective on the ball and won the game 2-0.
“Brighton can keep the ball, but if they don’t score, they will become frustrated and that will give us a chance.”