West Brom v Brighton: The full transcript of Chris Hughton's pre-match press conference

Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton spoke to the press this afternoon ahead of the Seagulls' FA Cup fourth round replay at West Brom on Wednesday.

Here's what Hughton said to the questions he was asked at Albion's training ground.

What's the team news?

"At the moment we're not too bad. Dale (Stephens) was very close on Saturday and pulled out in the warm-up.

"He's a lot better today. Whether he'll be available for Wednesday, at this moment probably not.

"We'll determine whether we risk him or not tomorrow and (Jose) Izquierdo is still out."

How difficult will Wednesday's game be?

"It's a big challenge for us. We're up against a team that are in a very good position in the Championship.

"What they will be doing is giving everything they can to get straight back to the Premier League. They've brought in some good players in this window, so they've got a very good squad and a team that has recently been in the Premier League.

"I felt we should have won the first tie at our place but that wasn't to be.

"We've now got another opportunity but we're playing against a team and a squad full of quality. That in itself says it will be a very difficult game."

Do you think FA Cup ties should be decided on the day?

"It's a very difficult one and it's one I change my mind on fairly consistently.

"What you have to think is you are going to get the underdog playing against a team that is fancied to win. In those circumstances, what you would want as the underdog is the opportunity to get the replay.

"It would be very harsh to take it away from them. In any way replays are out of the game it's very much looking after the teams that can afford to have perhaps bigger squads and maybe Premier League teams.

"I've very mixed in my thoughts on it but probably, in fairness to the competition it's all about the lesser team as such winning games and getting through to the latter stages.

"I suppose a lot of clubs will look at it in this particular season as a lot of Premier League teams are out and it's a real good opportunity for somebody else."

Is there an opportunity for a good cup run with so many Premier League teams out?

"I see the possibility of Wembley opening up for somebody because this year particularly, there are a lot of Premier League teams that are out.

"But you can never go into any game thinking that way.

"Even the thought of a home game against Derby, you can't think that way. As soon as you start thinking that way then you are not going to get through the next tie, which is a very difficult one at West Brom.

"I do see the competition opening up for some who are not the favourites. It's a great thing for this competition."

Will you rotate the squad?

"What I will do is mix the team up and we'll use the squad.

"We play Wednesday and we play Saturday against Burnley. That will come into my mind to a degree but by far the bigger degree is I have a very competitive squad at the moment.

"In my time here, although we might have one or two injuries at the moment, I think it's as competitive as we've had it.

"What you have to be able to do is use the squad and use the competition in the squad and use the players.

"That will always be the case."

With the Chelsea game postponed at the end of the month, will you go away on a warm weather training camp?

"It's something we've considered and we'd look at.

"But we'd only go away if it suited everybody, it was the right place and the group of players wanted to go.

"There's nothing organised or concrete yet. If we do think it's right and do find the right place, then yes but otherwise we have a very good facility here to continue our training."

The next four home league games are against sides below you in the league, is it a pivotal period?

"We have more chance of getting results against the teams that are not the top six, seven or eight.

"That one is a fact. Anybody in our position would say exactly the same.

"Probably the opposition we have will feel similar against us and that they have more of a chance of getting a result against us than the top six.

"From that aspect, it is a pivotal period of time for us.

"But it's very difficult to start thinking about games in two games or three games time because you don't know what the situation will be.

"If we aren't able to get the results in the first game or the second game, then what happens is the third game becomes an even bigger game.

"It is a period of games for us that I think it's important we are able to pick up points but league wise we have to focus very much on Burnley on Saturday."

Brighton are without a league win in 2019. Is that playing on your mind?

"After the game on Saturday, I was okay because I thought the level of performance was really good. I don't think we could have done too much more to win the game.

"It hits you the next day that it's two points lost and that's the way we will see it.

"Generally if you perform well enough over a season, you will be okay.

"The level of performance is high on our agenda and it was good enough on Saturday in a game we should have won."


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