Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton believes Dan Burn's loan period at Wigan Athletic during the opening half of the season has helped the defender make a seamless transition into the Seagulls squad.
The 26-year-old made his debut against tonight’s Emirates FA Cup opponents West Bromwich Albion last month, and the boss spoke glowingly about the summer arrival’s exploits since linking up with the Seagulls at the start of the calendar year.
He said, “He’s been playing matches in the first half of this season and that showed when he came into the side for the original tie. He’s trained really well since he joined the group here and there’s been a positive effect from him playing.
“He deserves another go [this evening]. The idea to loan him back has worked out really well, he’s come in full of enthusiasm. He knew he was coming here, so everything was geared towards being involved and Wednesday [tonight] is another opportunity for him.”
“It’s a chance for players to come into the fold and play their way into the league side – any players who play on Wednesday who haven’t done so at the weekend are players that are close.”
The boss also revealed that the contest this evening at the Hawthorns will see Alireza Jahanbakhsh return to action for Albion for the first time since the start of November.
The Iranian picked up an injury against Everton at Goodison Park before representing his country at the 2019 Asian Cup last month, where he regained fitness for his national side before returning to England.
“Wednesday night is a good opportunity to get him [Jahanbakhsh] back involved – he came here and took a while to get established.
“He was really getting going when he picked up the injury, so we’re delighted to have him back and now he can focus solely on ourselves here.
“He’s looked very sharp in training and we’re really keen to get him back involved – he’ll play against West Brom.”
The cup contest against Darren Moore’s side sits between home matches in the Premier League – Hughton’s men played out a 0-0 draw with Watford at the weekend and entertain Burnley on the south coast this coming Saturday evening.
“If you’re looking at where we are and just above us – anyone having a bad run can get drawn into the battle at the bottom.
“But we’ve been good enough this season to stay clear of that relegation zone, and being five points clear at the moment means we still are.
“It’s a good gap between ourselves and the bottom three, but you can get drawn in if you can’t pick up results – teams are showing that they’re still capable of winning matches and going on decent runs.”