Brighton take a much needed break from league duty this weekend, with a trip to promotion rivals Hull in the F.A Cup 3rd Round. For some they have declared this game a hindrance, and I will agree that I was one of them, but in recent weeks this game has become more important than most realise. It gives players such as Bruno, Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens a much needed rest, while also testing out fringe players like Jake Forster-Caskey and Danny Holla. With the incredibly bad form of the Albion too, this game could be the break they need to recapture their form; there’s no pressure to win, great if they do, but nobody will be too upset if they did go out, and decided to focus solely on the league and gaining promotion. Hull are in the same boat too; their form hasn’t been as kind to them as it was at the start of the season, and they have been reluctant to rotate key players too, so this will be an opportunity for Steve Bruce to mix things up.
Michael Dawson (knee) and Alex Bruce (back) are both sidelined for the Tigers, other than that Steve Bruce has a full squad to choose from. Brighton-born striker Greg Luer will be poised to start upfront, with Abel Hernandez and Chuba Akpom expected to be rested. Summer signing and Brighton-linked player Brian Lenihan could also be set to feature in the game.
New signing Anthony Knockaert won’t be available for the game, as he awaits his international clearance; he will be ready for Tuesday’s game at Rotherham. Other January signings Richie Towell and Liam Ridgewell will both be pushing for starts, as Hughton rings the changes. Sam Baldock and Kazenga LuaLua have been confirmed that they will play apart in the game; both have been sidelined for 2 and 3 months respectively. Meanwhile, Gordon Greer will have a fitness test before the game, but Uwe Hunemeier is out until the end of the month.
There has been 2 previous meetings between the 2 in the F.A Cup; both coming 2 years ago. The game at The AMEX ended in a 1-1 draw, while the replay at the KC ended with Hull winning 2-1; they went on to be beaten finalists.
Likely Line-Up; (Almost impossible to call it)
Calderon, Goldson, Ridgewell, Chicksen;
Towell, Ince, Holla;
Manu, Baldock, LuaLua;
Hull 1-1 Brighton