Former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Tommy Elphick believes the club should approach Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City with no fear, as they look to cause an upset at Wembley Stadium.
The 31-year-old, who now plies his trade with Aston Villa, made more than 170 appearances for the Seagulls, and the defender is delighted for the club’s supporters ahead of this weekend’s high-profile visit to the capital.
He said, “It’s brilliant for the city and club — it brings everyone together. The club has been on a great journey over the years.
“Premier League survival looks more than likely, so hopefully it will be another season in the Premier League, topped off with an Emirates FA Cup semi-final, minimum.
“Manchester City are the best team in Europe at the moment, but Brighton should approach the game with no fear. It will be a great day for the fans and players to go and give it their all.
“The way the quarter-final went against Millwall shows you the FA Cup can throw up a few surprises. With the amount of games Manchester City have coming up, you just never know.”
Elphick understands the size of the challenge in front of Albion this weekend, after coming up against Manchester City during his time at AFC Bournemouth, but the defender urged Hughton’s side to leave no stone unturned.
“We were probably too stubborn when I was at Bournemouth, we used to go toe-to-toe with them, get to a certain point and then get rolled over.
“It’s about making the FA Cup old fashioned — go there and have a go, work your socks off for 90 minutes and you just never know where it will go.
“They might change a few players or have an off-day, but you’ve got to be at your very best to beat a team like Manchester City.”
Lewis Dunk could lead the side out at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, and Elphick, who also came through the club’s youth system, understands how special that moment could be for the 27-year-old.
“Lewis has done remarkably well — I know how proud both he and his family are with what he’s done. I’m sure there will be plenty of days like Saturday for him.
“He’s had his debut England this year and played at Wembley, so that will help. It’s a game that I’m sure he will relish and look back on with a lot of pride.
“There aren’t many local lads that have gone on to captain their team in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, so if he wears the armband, it will be a proud moment for him.”