Albion's latest signing is hoping to gain some minutes in tonight's EFL Cup tie.
Oliver Norwood is eager to make his Brighton & Hove Albion debut tonight in the EFL Cup first round tie against Colchester United and welcomes the challenge of staking his spot in the starting 11.
The Northern Ireland international arrived on a three-year deal from Reading last week and praised his new team-mates for their display in Saturday’s season-opener at Derby County, but is now keen to break into the team and cement his place within Chris Hughton’s plans.
He said, “I thought the lads were brilliant, we probably shaded the game and could have won it. Opening days are always like that, it was a difficult game at Derby, a good point and hopefully we can kick-start the season with a win over Colchester in the cup.
“It will be a chance to hopefully get some minutes on the pitch. I’m looking forward to getting out there now, it was a hectic 48 hours for me before the weekend, but I’ve now had a bit of time to settle in and find my feet. I’m really looking forward to Tuesday night.
“I knew before I came here there’d be competition for places, with the quality of the squad and the heights they achieved last season. When you’re given the chance, you have to do well and hope you play well enough to stay in the team.”
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The 25-year-old came up against Colchester at the same stage of the competition last season, progressing with Reading after extra-time, and Norwood expects another competitive game this time around.
“It was tough to score, they sat back and put ten players behind the ball at all times. It was difficult and we couldn’t find the breakthrough until the 115th minute.
“Hopefully it won’t take as long on Tuesday night, but we’re expecting a really tough game.
“They’re going to come to the Amex, see the surroundings and be really up for the game. We’ve just got to do everything we can to win and progress through to the next round.”
Dale Stephens is eligible for selection once again after missing Albion’s season opener with Derby due to suspension, and Norwood is well aware of the quality within Albion’s central midfield quartet.
“He’s a fantastic footballer. I’ve not really enjoyed playing against him much to be honest, he’s a very good footballer, but also a really nice lad.
“I’ve played against Dale when he was at Charlton, and also when I played in Manchester United’s academy team, so we’ve played against each other quite a lot.
“He and Beram [Kayal] were brilliant together last year, and as a player looking from the outside, you want that kind of competition. You want to be playing with good players and that’s what excited me about moving here.”
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