Chris Hughton: Brighton are buoyant before tough run of fixtures
Brighton manager Chris Hughton feels his squad are well set for a period which could define their Premier League campaign.
The Seagulls will resume domestic action against Stoke at the Amex Stadium on Monday and they are looking to maintain a positive start which has seen them climb into the top half of the table following a four-match unbeaten run.
However, given the hectic schedule ahead - the year draws to a close with fixtures against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and then Chelsea away on Boxing Day - Hughton understands how hard sustaining that form is likely to be.
"Going into the international break winning at Swansea was massive because we knew the schedule that was coming up over the next six weeks and into the Christmas period and new year," Hughton said at a press conference, as quoted on the club's official website.
"There'll be a period that will test us and give us an indication of where we are, but we knew that was coming and we have to be prepared for it - whether that is over the upcoming weeks or in the latter half of the season."
Hughton reported no fresh fitness worries as his players regrouped after the break.
Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan is expected to be involved following his return from Sydney, where he helped Australia secure qualification for the World Cup with a 3-1 win over Honduras.
Hughton said: "The extra few days for the game against Stoke helps for Maty and it is an advantage for both us and him.
"It goes without saying, after the result on Wednesday, he will come back to us in good spirits."