Brighton’s Lewis Dunk has proved he has Premier League potential this season

Lewis Dunk was the stand-out performer during Brighton’s 2-0 win over Derby but it’s not an exception, it’s the norm.

Brighton and Hove Albion moved a step closer to Championship safety with a surprise win over league leaders Derby County on Tuesday night.

Goals from substitutes Dale Stephens and Kazenga LuaLua were enough for the Seagulls to claim a smash and grab victory and moved them nine points clear of the relegation zone.

It was the first time they have kept consecutive home clean sheets all season and the fourth shut-out in their last six matches. Chris Hughton has stabilised a club which was in the relegation zone when he took over at the Amex.

The former Newcastle and Norwich boss has focussed on being hard to beat which is exactly what is needed when you are fighting at the wrong end of the table.

David Stockdale has been excellent between the sticks and since returning from injury, captain Gordon Greer has forged a solid partnership with 23-year-old Lewis Dunk, who has established himself as one of the best defenders in the league this season.

Dunk has consistently been a colossus at the heart of Brighton’s defence and Tuesday was no different. During regular spells of Derby pressure, his expert positioning allowed him to clear the ball from danger and get in the way of the Rams’ shots regularly.

Of the 11 blocked shots which Derby attempted, Dunk blocked four of them. He also made a staggering 12 clearances from his own and won 67% of his aerial duels.

But this was by no means a first; in fact he has made the most interceptions (108) and ranks highly in the blocked shots (36) and clearances (186) charts. Add his five league goals to this and it equals a phenomenal season for Dunk.

Having not been a regular last season, due to Greer and Matthew Upson’s unbreakable partnership, Dunk has established himself not only as Brighton’s best defender but one of the best in the Championship too. His Premier League potential is there for all to see.

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