At his pre-match press conference, Chris Hughton spoke about the current clean bill of health in the squad, his thoughts on facing Southend United, his personal highlights in the Capital One Cup and the return of Andrew Crofts.
State of the squad: “At this moment we have no injuries and I have a fully-fit squad to choose from. I will definitely make use of the squad and it gives us an opportunity to create competition for places.”
Thoughts on Southend: “It’s certainly a tough game and they’re a team that had a very good season.
"They’ll be organised, even more so due to the fact that they’re playing at home, and they’ll see it as an opportunity to go through to the next stage. We expect a hard game, but it won’t be any different to any team that we could play at this stage of the competition.
“We always want to go through, there’s no doubt about that. What it does do is give you an opportunity to make use of your squad. It also gives you that feel-good factor of winning matches, so there certainly won’t be a cup competition that we go in for that we don’t want to make progress in.
“We’re on the back of a good win at the weekend and it’s the momentum that we want to keep going.”
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Highlights in the League Cup: “There have been some highlights. I was fortunate enough to get to a final quite some time ago, which was a very exciting game against Liverpool, where we lost out in the final few minutes of the game. I also had an involvement as a coach when it was the Worthington Cup. It’s a very good cup competition and it’s a game we want to win to make progress.”
The return of Andrew Crofts: “I’ve spoken to him, but I’ve already received feedback from Simon Rusk [under-21 coach] and our sport science staff.
“Crofty is feeling good and we’re having to manage his training and the participation he has in the forthcoming under-21 games, but he’s not far away.
“We’re having to stick to a guideline because it’s the right thing to do, but he’s very close. I’ve no doubts that he could probably play a game now, but the correct and appropriate thing to do is to go by those guidelines.
“We’re pinpointing those next two under-21 games [v Swansea and Newcastle] and he’s very close. We have to make sure we’re doing it properly.”
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