Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Andy Whing believes this afternoon’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Coventry City is a brilliant chance for the Seagulls to book a place in the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in 32 years.
Two of Whing’s former clubs collide today at the Amex Stadium as the Seagulls host the Sky Blues in the last 16 of the tournament, and he believes that Albion must make the most of the contest.
He said, “From a Brighton perspective it’s a great opportunity to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 32 years and make some history.
“In recent years they haven’t had a much better opportunity to get to that stage – and you don’t know when they will again, so it’s massive.
“I’m one of those people who believes that winning any game can have a big impact on the side – you can get a good rhythm going with cup runs.
“I’m sure they’ll put out a strong team out to try and progress and carry on that momentum in the league.”
Whing made over 100 league appearances for the Midlands club and also scored the last ever goal at their historic old home – Highfield Road. He emphasised that this afternoon’s tie would be one the club’s supporters would be looking forward to.
“It’s a big game and a great achievement for Coventry City to have got to this stage of the competition, because they’ve beaten some bigger sides on their way too.
“They took a lot of fans to those matches and it will be a great day out for the supporters, so I’m sure it’s one they’re looking forward to.”
The defender also turned out 91 times in the league for the Albion – and admitted that the club’s current top-flight status means it is a long way away from how he remembers the Seagulls during his time on the south-coast.
“It’s a world away from when I was with the club to be honest. You wouldn’t recognise it being the same club – and I was only there seven years ago.
“The club has had a massive turnaround with the new stadium and training facilities, which is one of the top ones in the country.
“When I was there I walked round the Amex in it’s early stages of being built with a hard hat on – so to see it all come to fruition now is brilliant.
“Their facilities now rival any side in the Premier League, so the club have come on leaps and bounds and it’s great to see."
Whing has recently become an under-18 coach with the Sky Blues, having also previously held a coaching role with Kidderminster Harriers’ under-23 side – he insisted that the move to the academy set-up at the Ricoh Arena was an easy one to make due to his ties with the club.
“I’m an under-18 coach here now and I saw this job as an opportunity for me to be a really good fit with the club.
“I came through the academy and joined the club when I was 12 years old, so I know a lot about the place and still live locally too.
“I actually lived at the training ground for two years and made a lot of appearances as well, and I just wanted to start to developing players through the ranks and I saw this place as the right one at this exact time – for it to be one of my old clubs as well meant it was a really good fit.”