Chris Hughton and his Brighton team took another step towards wiping away the nightmare of just missing out on promotion to the Premier League last term with a 3-0 thumping of Derby in their Championship clash.

Goals by the impressive Anthony Knockaert, Sam Baldock and Glenn Murray, his 18th of the campaign, saw the 'Seagulls' join leaders Newcastle on 77 points though the latter host in-form Fulham on Saturday.

Brighton, who are seeking promotion to the Premier League for the first time and have not been in the top flight since the 1982/83 season, are nine points better off than third-placed Huddersfield who host Aston Villa on Saturday and have two games in hand.

Hughton will be relieved to have put together two successive wins, after losing two in a row which ignited fears of last season were haunting them when they lost out on automatic promotion on goal difference -- demoralised they went on to lose in the playoffs.

Man of the match Knockaert said the team were focusing simply on ticking off each match hopefully with three points and edging closer to their dream.

"Every three points is one more step to automatic promotion," said the 25-year-old Frenchman, who was capped three times at Under-21 level but faded from sight after a move to a then moderate Leicester side in 2012.

"The job is done. Now we have a good week and time to rest for the game against Leeds."

Knockaert and his team-mates have reason to be confident of setting matters straight as of the nine games remaining eight are against teams in the bottom half of the table -- fourth-placed Leeds being the exception.