Brighton & Hove Albion defender Uwe Huenemeier insists that this afternoon’s Emirates FA Cup tie away to Middlesbrough is game which can give a chance to alternative members of the squad.
The German, who featured in the win over Crystal Palace in the last round, highlighted the fact that the competition could also provide a welcome break from the rigours of the Premier League, as Albion head to the north-east today looking to advance to the fifth round of the competition.
He said, “With every round you go through, you’re closer to Wembley and if we win at the weekend, we’re another step closer to achieving something special.
“Everyone knows the league is the priority but it’s nice to have a different focus sometimes.
“Some of the boys will be rested this weekend so they’ll have some time to get fresh – but for a lot of us it’s a chance to play and it’s one we are looking forward to.
“The mood is upbeat and it’s a good time to get a game, as players we see it as a chance to lift the mood and get on a cup run.
“The competition is a priority for ones who haven’t played because it will give us a chance to have another game as well, with every game you want to win to give yourself some of that momentum and mentality.”
Albion have endured a tough run in the top flight recently, but the central defender emphasised that both he and the side recognised difficult periods were always going to happen during the club’s first season in the Premier League.
“We haven’t won as many games as last season and that’s probably been the biggest test for us this year.
“We knew it was going to be difficult and that’s the biggest challenge – but I would say we’re about where everyone expected us to be – teams have gone through tough spells so we’ll look to turn it around as quickly as possible.
“We’re fully focused on the weekend and we know it will be a tough game.”
Huenemeier has found his game time restricted this season, owing much to the good form of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk. The game in the last round against Roy Hodgson’s men was his fifth appearance in all competitions, and he was keen to stress he knew he had to wait for a chance to prove himself in the side.
“I’m used to having to wait for my chance – especially after my injury.
“At the end of last season, I came into the side and did well, that was my main target and I’ve proved that already because I performed at a time with a lot of pressure and I helped to get the team promoted.
“Now it’s up to me and push the guys ahead of me - people like Lewis [Dunk] have improved massively, over the last year, he’s been so consistent and there’s no reason for those guys to drop out of the side.
“It’s not easy but I am a team player – of course I want to play all of the time but the success of the team is my priority and right now I’m looking forward to the weekend.”