Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton has praised the development of striker Viktor Gyokeres ahead of this afternoon’s trip to AFC Bournemouth in the Emirates FA Cup.
The boss revealed that the Swede would be involved in his squad for this afternoon’s third-round tie against the Cherries, and he complimented the forward’s progression so far during his time at the club.
He said, “Viktor [Gyokeres] has done well – he’s added to his game like Jurgen Locadia in some ways.
“He can play as a number nine and that’s his strength, but because of Aaron Connolly doing well, Simon Rusk has used him on the left or sometimes as a ten.
“He’s got a little bit more variety and flexibility in where he can play now – he was with us in the pre-season period and played in a couple of the matches.
“He’s developed really well and has good physicality for someone of his age – at this moment our thinking is more to keep him here than see him go out on loan.”
This afternoon’s game with Eddie Howe’s men kicks off at an earlier time of 12.30pm due to overseas broadcast, and the manager reflected on the change of arrangements from the originally scheduled start time of 3pm.
“The changes that are being made to the competition are natural. One thing about any changes, such as VAR, is that players and clubs always adapt.
“We’ve got used to playing every game on a Saturday and that changed, now matches are all days of the week. The Championship had a spell earlier this season where they had a match pretty much every day of the week.
“Whatever changes are made, they are done for the right reasons. The idea of going without the replays from the fifth round onwards is a good one due to the potential for fixture pile-ups. The kick-off times are also one of those things, and the majority of clubs have it exactly the same.”
Last season the Seagulls reached the last eight of the competition for the first time since 1986, before being knocked out by Manchester United at Old Trafford – Hughton spoke about the realistic targets he believes the side can set for this year’s campaign.
“A club like ourselves have to look at the teams that have won the domestic competitions over the last few years – more often than not it is one of the bigger sides.
“They will always be favourites – we have the opportunity to get to the latter stages, that for us means the final eight or so and that’s probably realistic for us.
“Every now and again there will be a team who surpasses expectations, but I think it will always be the top six who are favourites because they can rely on a strong squad throughout and rotate.
“There are always going to be teams of our level that pull out surprises though.”