Brighton’s Gaetan Bong anticipates 'massive' M23 derby

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The Seagulls will be hoping to strengthen their bid for survival when they visit their archrivals at Selhurst Park

Brighton and Hove Albion defender Gaetan Bong has highlighted the importance of Saturday’s 'massive' M23 derby against Crystal Palace.

Chris Hughton's side are placed 13th in the English top-flight with six games left and are seven points above safety.

After settling for a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield Town last Saturday, the Seagulls will be looking to return to winning ways against Roy Hodgson's side at Selhurst Park.

And the Cameroon international who has made 19 league appearances this campaign has charged his teammates to go for maximum points as they aim to maintain their Premier League status.

“It’s a big game for everybody – after last weekend we have to react because we need points,” Bong told club website.

“The job is not done yet and the table is tight. The fact that it’s a derby as well makes it a massive game for all of us.

“My message is easy – remember where we’ve come from and where we want to go.

“Even when it gets difficult, we need the fans because without them football is nothing. We want them to enjoy the games and enjoy watching us – we need to do our jobs to make that happen.

“They can make a really big difference and when they’re loud it gives you an extra bit of energy. Even when you’re tired you feel like you can give a little bit more and we’ll want that on Saturday.”

Gaetan PS

The left-back who once featured in the Greek derby against Panathinaikos during his short spell at Olympiakos, has described Saturday's tie against the Eagles as a different rivalry and has called for unflinching support from the fans

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“Every derby has a different story, I’ve played in some big games but this is a unique one,” he continued.

“These games can sometimes have a different mentality because it isn’t always necessarily about who’s playing the better football or who has the better team – it comes down to that one game and we just want to make the fans proud.

“Pressure and intensity come with being in this league – this Saturday’s derby game is a hard one and we’ll need the supporters. We must be ready to fight but we also have to enjoy it as well.”