By Tony Leighton
LIVE: The Play-Offs of the Sky Bet Football League 2014
Brighton and Hove Albion striker Craig Mackail-Smith is back after a long-term injury and itching to do for the Seagulls in the Play-Offs of the Sky Bet Championship what he did to help Peterborough United climb out of League 1 via the same route three years ago.
Out since March last year with Achilles and ankle problems, Mackail-Smith has returned just in time to hopefully make a similar impact to the one he made so explosively when scoring in both of Peterborough's 2011 Play-Off Semi-Finals and again in the Final as Huddersfield Town were beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford.
The Scotland international was unable to find the net after stepping off the substitutes' bench as Brighton lost 2-1 to Derby County in the first leg of this week's Championship Semi-Final at the Sussex club's Amex Stadium.
But as he prepares for Sunday's second leg he will be buoyed by the memory of not only his 2011 Peterborough heroics but also of his goal for the Seagulls on his last visit to Derby, a 1-0 win in the 2011/12 Championship campaign.
"It was fantastic to score for Peterborough in both legs of the Semi-Final and the Final and I've scored at Derby and done pretty well when I've played there in the past. Hopefully that holds me in good stead for Sunday," said Mackail-Smith.
"There's still a lot of football to be played. They obviously have the advantage, being at home and in the lead, but I think it's far from done. We've got a lot of positives to take from the first leg. It's all or nothing now, 90 minutes to get to Wembley, and we'll do everything we possibly can and hopefully that's enough."
Replicating the best of their away form might be enough for Brighton, who have done pretty well on the road this term with their best result a 4-1 win at champions Leicester City.
"We've been fantastic away," said the striker, "hard to break down and get past and we've scored goals at the other end.
"I think we have just got to be very patient, do what we plan for games away and hopefully come away with the result we need. I've just got to be happy I'm back playing and involved in the Play-Offs which is great. If I can have an input and make an impact on Sunday it will be perfect."
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