Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton believes this season’s Emirates FA Cup is there for the taking, given the sides that have been eliminated from the competition to date.
The Seagulls face West Bromwich Albion in a fourth-round replay at the Hawthorns tomorrow evening knowing that a win would put them into the last 16, but the boss emphasised the need to take the competition one game at a time.
He said, “There are a lot of Premier League sides out of the competition now, so there is an opportunity for teams to progress.
“But you can't go into a game thinking a match will be easy, because as soon as you do, you won’t get through to the next round."
“I see it opening up for some who are not the favourites though, and that’s the great thing about this competition.”
The two sides meet again having played out a 0-0 draw at the Amex Stadium with one another at the end of last month, and Hughton looked ahead to the challenge on the road, as well as discussing making use of his squad for the televised contest tomorrow night.
“It’s a big challenge for us up against a side who are doing well in the league – they’ll be giving it everything to get straight back up to the Premier League and they’ve brought in some good players during January.
“They have a good squad – I felt we should have won the first tie at home but now we have another opportunity to do so. It will be a very difficult game and we know that, but it’s one we’ll be looking to win.
“I’ll mix the team up and use the squad – we have a big home game at the weekend, but the biggest thing for me is the competitive squad that I currently have at my disposal.
“It’s the most competitive we’ve had it throughout my time here at the club, even with the few injuries we have at the moment - you have to be able to use that squad and use the competition, that will always be the case.”
After the contest against Darren Moore’s men the side return to Premier League action, where they then have four games on home soil against sides in close proximity in the league table.
“It’s an important period coming up in the league, the obvious answer is that we have more chance of getting results against sides outside the top six,” the manager continued.
“Anyone in our position would say exactly the same, the opposition would also feel the same way about facing us in terms of their chances to get points from matches.
“It’s difficult to start thinking about games in sequences because you’re never sure what the situation will be – if you don’t start a period well then the emphasis changes, it’s a period of games that we want to get points from, but we’ll take it one at a time.”