Brighton & Hove Albion defender Dan Burn believes that his exploits in the Emirates FA Cup with Wigan Athletic last term have contributed to him now plying his trade in the top flight.
The imposing central defender was part of the Wigan side that reached the quarter-final stage last season, having beaten the likes of AFC Bournemouth, West Ham United and eventual Premier League champions Manchester City, and he emphasised that those experiences have aided his journey back into the Premier League.
He said, “Growing up, the competition was always special, and I have very fond memories of it from last year when I was with Wigan. The wins, especially against Manchester City, were great for the club and we had a good run in the tournament. We tested ourselves against the best.
“Luckily, Will Grigg went through and scored the winning goal and it was a great night for the club. I don’t think it really sunk in until the end of the season because back in the league we were still trying to get promoted.
“Looking back, it was a result against one of the best sides in the world, we showcased ourselves against the best players – we played four or five top-flight sides and now I’ve ended up playing in one myself, so it’s definitely worked to my advantage.
“It shows you can balance the cup and the league, but obviously staying in the Premier League is our top objective – it’s the best league in the world. But this competition is a good chance for players who aren’t playing regularly at the moment to go out and show what they can do.”
Following confirmation of his move to the south coast in the summer, Burn joined up with the rest of his Albion team-mates at the turn of the year, having spent the first half of the campaign back at Wigan.
He highlighted the positive impact that the game time in the second tier has had since he entered the fold for Chris Hughton’s side.
“Spending the first half of the season with Wigan has worked out perfectly because I came here match fit and ready to play.
“I’ve had a few opportunities in the cup to settle in, I’m happy with the way I’ve played so far, and I want to take that into the game this weekend if selected.
“Anyone who comes through and watches English football knows how special this competition is and will have good memories of it, it’s exciting when you get to this stage – this is the business end of it now.”
The former Fulham, Yeovil Town and Birmingham City man played the entirety of both matches against West Bromwich Albion in the last round, and he reflected on the opportunities afforded to him so far ahead of this weekend’s game with Derby County at the Amex Stadium.
“Being involved in it so far has allowed me to show what I can do – it’s the only chance you’ll get if you’re not featuring in the Premier League, so you know you have to make your mark to get into the manager’s thoughts.
“You have to be ready when you get the chance – but this Saturday will be tough. I’ve already played against them [Derby County] once this season when I was with Wigan, so I know the threats they possess and the attacking quality they have.
“They’ve been a good side for a number of years and they have a way of playing - the game is a good stage for them to show what they can do against a Premier League side.
“We know it’s a good opportunity for us this year because of the teams that have already gone out – we were all sat at a pre-match meal when we drew Derby County out of the hat and we recognise it’s a good chance for us.”