skysports.com will be getting inside the minds of the players this season.
This week we caught up with our regular blogger, Brighton frontman Craig Mackail-Smith, to reflect on losing Will Buckley to the Premier League, his team’s disappointing Championship start and opening his scoring account in the Capital One Cup.
Buckley joined ex-Brighton boss Gus Poyet at Sunderland this week but Mackail-Smith and co were still able to bounce back from losing to Sheffield Wednesday with a cup victory over Cheltenham.
We’re rebuilding after Leo Ulloa and Will Buckley have left for the Premier League. A few of our best players have left in the last six to eight months – but it is hard for the club when Premier League clubs come in.
It’s disappointing for us as players in one way, but we’re all really excited for Will and Leo to ply their trade in the Premier League. As a club that’s where we want to be, but if the opportunity comes up for a player in the meantime then it’s hard to stand in their way.
Gus Poyet brought Bucka to the club and he had Liam Bridcutt here from before the club got promoted to the Championship, and he knows what they’re capable of. He’s seen their quality and thinks they can play in the Premier League. That’s the way it is. Managers leave and want to take players from their old clubs with them.
If you perform well in this division, it’s only one step from the Premier League so teams that have been promoted or teams in the lower half are always looking for Championship players to bring in to strengthen.
These things happen, the money comes in from other clubs and our club decides how best to use that money. Those two have gone and we’ll get on with it – the club are working to bring in reinforcements and our aim is still for the Premier League.
It was nice to score, it’s been 18 months since I played 90 minutes and scored in a competitive game.
I’ve scored a couple in the reserves and three in pre-season but to score in a competitive game is a lot, lot better. Obviously now I want to do that in the Championship starting on Saturday.
It was an injury that could have ended my career and I’ve worked really hard. I still don’t feel like I’m back to where I want to be but to score and get 90 minutes is a buzz and a boost to know that I’m getting closer and closer.
I want to be playing week-in week-out, it’s been a long time since I played 90 minutes in consecutive games. Hopefully I get a run in the team to stake my claim. We’ve brought Chris O’Grady in and he’s looked good, he’ll want to be up-front too. It’s good to have us both competing and maybe the club will be on the search to bring another one in too. It would bolster the squad.
The performance against Cheltenham was a professional one. They put nine men behind the ball, and made it hard for us. Our big centre-back Lewis Dunk got the important goal which settled the game down. That gave me a chance in the last minute to get in behind the back four and get our second goal.
Long way to go
Teams come to the Amex looking to defend and hit us with one goal. I don’t know if it was a cross or a shot that put Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 up. Then going down to 10 men made it difficult to build up a head of steam. It’s not how we expected the first game at home to go but there’s a long time to get it in motion – 45 more games!
There’s always a little bit of pressure when a new manager comes in, the fans always expected results straight away. We’ve done well over the past couple of seasons so the fans will want him to repeat that.