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LuaLua Relishing Special Occasion

5 January 2013

Kazenga LuaLua said that he will savour the moment if he plays against his former club this afternoon...

After missing out against Newcastle United in last season's FA Cup tie owing to injury, the winger has expressed his joy at being available for the fixture this time around.

LuaLua told seagulls.co.uk, “Obviously I missed the game last season, I was pushing myself to be back and fit but unfortunately it wasn’t to be and I was gutted to miss it.

“As soon as I heard we were drawn against Newcastle again this year I was just praying to be fit and fortunately I am. I have a lot of friends and family in Newcastle so it’s going to be a special game for me.

“I’m enjoying my football again because it’s always good when you're playing in the first-team. We’ve had a few injuries and I’ve taken my chance to impress the gaffer. It’s been a tough season for me on and off the pitch but it’s great to be back in the team and focused again. I’m really looking forward to the challenge against Newcastle.”

LuaLua explained that Albion’s experience against Premier League opposition last season will stand them in good stead ahead of today's game.

“We beat Newcastle and Sunderland last year, so why can’t we do it again? We take a lot of belief from those two results and that will help us. There was also the defeat against Liverpool and although it was a bad day for us we still learnt a lot.

“Playing Newcastle last year means that we know how they play, equally they know how we play. It won’t be easy but we are playing at home and will want to win. They will be desperate for a win though.

“We will have to believe and play football our way. There is no pressure on us so we will go out and enjoy it.”

The 22-year-old has good memories of the time he spent on Tyneside and speaks fondly of his brother Lomana, who also played for the Toon Army.

“My brother was one of the first people I spoke to about the draw, he has always been there for me and has had a massive influence on my career.

“I was playing for a local team in Newcastle and my brother came back from training and said that I was going on trial with Newcastle. I was surprised but went on trial for three weeks and they took me on which was great.

“Unfortunately I didn’t get too many chances for the first team so it was the right time for me to move to Brighton. I was disappointed because I loved playing for Newcastle but you have to think about your career and I’m glad I chose to come to Brighton. I feel like I have settled down a lot here and I’m enjoying my football.

“I don’t think I will celebrate if I score as Newcastle are the team that gave me my first professional contract and I have a lot of respect for the club and the fans.”

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