Three reasons Brighton & Hove Albion will be promoted and three reasons they won't

Brighton Hove Albion Flags

It's been a productive campaign for the Seagulls, but can they keep it up?

The Championship returns this weekend and for teams like Brighton & Hove Albion, this is the home straight. The Seagulls have been transformed under Chris Hughton, but will they begin next season in the Premier League?

Here are three reasons they will...

Form - Brighton responded to last month's shock 4-1 defeat to Cardiff by winning four of their next six, drawing the other two and conceding a single goal in that time. In fact, that was their only defeat in 12. Hughton guided Newcastle to promotion six years ago and will know how to maintain such a run.

Others stumbling - Burnley aside, those around them have endured contrasting runs of form of late. Second-placed Middlesbrough have lost three of their last five - and very nearly their manager - while Hull have failed to win any as many attempts.

In their hands - While Boro have a game in hand on the Seagulls, the pair are due to meet on the season's final day, so as long as Hughton's men keep pace, they're in control of their own destiny.

And here are three they won't...

Tough run-in - That said, of their eight remaining matches, four are against the current top nine - starting and ending with back-to-back fixtures against Burnley and Birmingham, and Derby and Boro, respectively. This next six weeks will be a real test of Brighton's credentials.

Play-off record - The Seagulls have competed in four play-off campaigns but have been promoted just once - in 2004 - suffering defeats in 1991, 2013 and 2014. Hughton's record in them is not great either - his Birmingham side lost to Blackpool in the 2012 semi-finals, after finishing fourth in the Championship.

If others teams' players hit form - Unlike Boro, Brighton didn't have £9million to spend on a new striker in January, and never have possessed a £10million one (looking at you this time, Hull). Jordan Rhodes' capture was meant to fire the former to the title, while Abel Hernandez, for most of the campaign, was doing exactly that for that latter. Both are suffering from droughts at present (eight and seven matches, respectively), however, if either hits form, their teams may be tough to stop.

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