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How Many Members Of Brighton And Newcastle’s Irish Contingent Will Survive Promotion?

Brighton Newcastle

Two of the three promotion spots to next season’s Premier League have now been filled, with Newcastle joining Brighton in sealing an automatic place on Monday night.

Rafa Benitez and Chris Hughton’s respective sides have been the two standout performers in the Championship this season, and it always seemed a case of when, rather than if, they would be the ones confirmed as going up.

Despite their strength in England’s second tier, the Premier League requires the squads to be strengthened if they are to ensure that their returns to the top divisions are not brief ones. A number of players from both sides will, therefore, find that their services are no longer required this summer.

With that in mind, and with each side having a relatively healthy Irish contingent in their ranks, who among them will still be at the respective Premier League newcomers next season?

 

Brighton & Hove Albion

Chris Hughton (Manager)

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Chris Hughton, manager of Brighton & Hove Albion looks on before the Sky Bet Championship match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Wigan Athletic at Amex Stadium on April 17, 2017 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Even in a business as cruel as English football, sacking a manager that has just delivered promotion to the Premier League would be extremely harsh. It is not entirely unprecedented, of course, it happened to Slavisa Jokanovic at Watford just two years ago, but the Seagulls’ faith in Chris Hughton is unwavering. Certain to stay at the AMEX.

Shane Duffy (Defender)

Brighton’s record signing at £4m (though expect that to change this summer), Duffy has become an important part of Hughton’s defence at the south coast club.

The manager has been discussing Duffy regularly since the 25-year-old picked up a season-ending injury at the end of last month, and although there may be an opportunity to break up the partnership that the Irish international has built up with Lewis Dunk at the back, Hughton seems happy with his options for now.

Richie Towell (Midfielder)

Lincoln City's Irish midfielder Alan Power (L) vies with Brighton's Irish midfielder Richie Towell during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Lincoln City and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Sincil Bank stadium in Lincoln, eastern England, on January 28, 2017. / AFP / Lindsey PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

While Duffy looks like being used as an important part of the side next season, the same cannot be said of compatriot Richie Towell. There was plenty of excitement when the former Dundalk star made the move across the water in late 2015, but it just hasn’t happened for him over in the Championship.

Hughton rarely speaks about Towell in anything other than glowing terms, but aside from a few FA Cup matches, he hasn’t really been near the first team setup. Whether it is on loan or permanently, Towell is likely to be at another club in August.

Newcastle United

Ciaran Clark (Defender)

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: Ciaran Clark of Newcastle in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest at St James' Park on December 30, 2016 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Clark left one relegated Premier League side for another last summer in swapping Aston Villa for Newcastle. Often a scapegoat at Villa Park, the move to the north east has been hugely beneficial for both his club and international career.

Rafa Benitez has credited the 23-year-old with bringing balance to the Newcastle back four, and short of Chancel Mbemba or Grant Hanley usurping him in pre-season training, Clark and Jamal Lascelles look set to be the Magpies’ first-choice pairing next season.

Rob Elliot (Goalkeeper)

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND - APRIL 13: Goalkeeper Rob Elliot catches the ball during the Newcastle United Training Session at The Newcastle United Training Centre on April 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

If there’s one area of the pitch where Newcastle are not lacking, it is the goalkeeping department. Matz Sels, Karl Darlow and Elliot will all have designs on the number one shirt next season (Tim Krul is not expected to be offered a new contract when he returns from loan).

Interestingly, Elliot was thrown in for his first appearance of the season in the game that sealed Newcastle’s promotion on Monday night, 13 months after suffering a serious cruciate ligament injury and almost three months after he returned to the bench. What this means for the 30-year-old’s place in the Magpies’ first team is unclear but his restoration to the first team at the business end of the campaign could be telling.

Daryl Murphy (Striker)

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Newcastle player Daryl Murphy celebrates after scoring the opening goal during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Birmingham City and Newcastle United at St Andrews (stadium) on January 7, 2017 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Eyebrows were raised when Newcastle signed the 34-year-old veteran on a two-year deal last summer, but Murphy has been a dependable option when called upon. The international forward has been in and out of the team this season, with just six Championship starts, but his experience in a relatively young Magpies side cannot be overstated.

He has since got his chance to impress in the last few weeks of the season, and with a return of seven goals in 22 appearances, he has definitely played his part in Newcastle’s promotion.

Murphy still has another year to run on his current deal, and Benítez may yet decide that the former Ipswich and Celtic striker’s experience is worth retaining in the top tier.

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Joining us on the Mixer football podcast this week is Shamrock Rovers defender Roberto Lopes, in addition to our usual review of the latest round of League of Ireland action.

https://soundcloud.com/punditarenairishfootball/roberto-lopes-speaks-about-shamrock-rovers-season-and-much-more

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Author: The PA Team

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