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Brighton and Crystal Palace get set for latest bout in the oddest of rivalries | Dominic Fifield

The first meeting of Brighton and Crystal Palace in the top flight for 36 years on Tuesday will rekindle the peculiar spectacle of a derby that isn’t really a derby

To many the rivalry is a peculiarity. There is no real geographical proximity to explain the loathing that exists between Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion. Even Roy Hodgson, born and bred in Croydon but whose time as a youth-team player at the south London club predates the animosity, needed a history lesson from Jason Puncheon before he truly understood. The same could be said of some of his players.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who hails from up the road in Lewisham, was blissfully unaware of the significance of the fixture until he attended a fans’ event at Boxpark last week and his team-mate Wilfried Zaha took the microphone to address the 1,500 crammed inside the hall. “Wilf was being interviewed and the guy asked him how much he hated Brighton on a scale of one to 10,” said the Chelsea loanee. “Wilf just went: ‘11’, so that tells me everything. I didn’t have a clue before but, when Wilf said that, I realised, OK, they don’t like each other.”

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