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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Brighton players backing Wilkins
By Mark Mitchener
BBC Sport at Withdean

Gary Hart
They're more than capable of taking this job over

Gary Hart on caretaker duo Dean Wilkins and Dean White
Long-serving forward Gary Hart insists Brighton's players would like caretaker manager Dean Wilkins to be handed the job on a permanent basis.

The Seagulls have taken four points from two games since Wilkins took over, with the assistance of Dean White, following Mark McGhee's departure.

"They know the club and every player inside out, so I hope they get the job," Hart told BBC Sport.

"Everyone's behind them - they're more than capable of taking this job over."

Hart has now played under nine managers since his Albion debut in 1998, against a backdrop of their continuing battle to move to a new stadium of their own.

But the 29-year-old feels that ex-youth coach Wilkins and chief scout White have already formed a popular partnership.

"We were gutted that Mark McGhee got the sack, and his assistant Bob Booker, who I'd known for a long time," Hart explained.

"But as they would know, in football you've got to move on, pick yourself up and not feel sorry for yourself.

"It's a new era, so we've got to produce some good results and get up the league. It's not nice losing a manager, but we know the two Deans very well.

"They're organised, and they can be 'good cop, bad cop' - that's what you need in a football club, one to rely on and one to tell you off.

GARY HART FACTFILE
Born: 21.9.1976
Position: Forward
1998: Joined Brighton from Essex League side Stansted for 1,000 plus a set of playing kit
Played under nine managers during his time at Brighton
Appearances: 349 (league, cups, play-offs)
Goals: 45
"Dean Wilkins is the good cop - the bad cop's Dean White, but you know where you are with him."

The Wilkins-White partnership helped the Seagulls to a 1-0 win over Millwall in their first game in charge, despite playing for nearly an hour with 10 men after Richard Carpenter saw red.

On Tuesday, they were only denied a second victory by south coast rivals Bournemouth, who were down to 10 men themselves but came back to draw 2-2.

"We had control until Bournemouth scored, then the gaffer sorted us out into a formation where we'd got a little bit of space," Hart said.

"That's the thing about Dean - he gets his point across and lets us know what he wants us to do. We knew what we had to do in the second half, and it worked to a certain extent.

"Bournemouth did well with 10 men, but we're disappointed that we let another two points slip. We've just got to stop letting in silly goals, and defend all the way through the team."

One encouraging sign at Withdean has been the number of young players - graduates of Wilkins' youth team - making their way into the first team.

Midfielder Tommy Fraser, 18, made his full debut against the Cherries, in a starting line-up which also included two other teenagers - Dean Cox and the highly-rated Joel Lynch.

The influx of youth has not been lost on Hart, who turns 30 on 21 September.

"It's like going home and being with my two kids at the moment, I feel really old!" he joked.

"But the supporters have got to understand that we have got a young side and we're playing some good football, considering they've only just come into the team.

"The fans here are good, they know the situation the club's in and that the players are working as hard as they possibly can."

SEE ALSO
Brighton 2-2 Bournemouth
12 Sep 06 |  League One
Wilkins coy about Brighton role
12 Sep 06 |  Brighton
Wilkins hails Seagulls after win
10 Sep 06 |  Brighton
Millwall 0-1 Brighton
09 Sep 06 |  League One
Brighton boss McGhee leaves club
08 Sep 06 |  Brighton
Date set for stadium court ruling
20 Jul 06 |  Southern Counties
Hart may face surgery after elbow
03 Apr 06 |  Brighton


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