Caltex Socceroos star Mathew Ryan is set to play in arguably the most important match of Brighton & Hove Albion’s English Premier League season to date, against Cardiff City on Wednesday morning (AEST).
Ryan, 27, can help his team take a huge step away from the relegation zone when Brighton entertain the Welsh outfit in an all-important six-pointer at Falmer Stadium at 4:45am (AEST).
A win for Chris Hughton’s side, who currently sit 17th on the ladder, would open an eight-point gap on their relegation rivals with five matches to play, including one in hand on the 18th-placed Bluebirds.
Albion have lost their last four matches in all competitions – including a dismal 5-0 defeat to Bournemouth in the early hours of Sunday morning – but manager Hughton believes his side will bounce back.
"There won't be any difficulty in lifting the players," Hughton told reporters on Monday.
"They'll want to prove a point on Tuesday, they'll want to show an attitude that they were disappointed with Saturday .
"It's always about how you respond. You respond because you're a professional and because you don't have a choice – this is the game, the ups and downs of the game.
I expect very much a reaction from our players.”
Ryan, who has featured 66 times in the top division of English football, is hunting an invaluable sixth clean sheet of the season against Cardiff as he bids to help extend his club's stay in the Premier League.