Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton says teams will have to adapt to new FA Cup changes

The FA Cup has gone through a series of changes over the past couple of years with the introduction of VAR last season and now the disposal of quarter-final replays this year, writes James Wootton.

Friday, 4th January 2019, 8:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:28 pm
Chris Hughton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

The hope of is that the removal of the sixth round replay will reduce fixture congestion in the latter stages of the season for some teams. Cup final replays were abolished in 1993 and semi-final replays in 1999.

Brighton have also faced a change to their cup tie with AFC Bournemouth, with kick-off being brought forward to a 12:30pm kick-off for overseas coverage.

Speaking about the alterations to the famous cup competition, Albion boss Hughton said: “I think it’s natural changes. One thing about any changes is that players and clubs always adapt.

"We’ve got used to playing every game on the Saturday, and that’s changed to some games on Sunday, some games on the Friday night, midweek games.

“Any changes are done for the right reasons, and as regards to adapting to it, everybody adapts to it well because ultimately we don’t have any choice.

“Certainly without the replays I think yes good because of the potential fixture pile ups. As regards to the kick-off times, I think providing you think that everybody is more or less the same and there’s nobody is at huge disadvantages.”

The Seagulls reached the quarter-finals of the cup competition for the first time in 32 years last season but were knocked out by eventual finalists, Manchester United.

When asked about whether Albion could be serious contenders in the competition, Hughton added: “What you have to look at is the last majority of years, who wins domestic trophies?

Generally, it’s one of the top six teams, so they will always be favourites.

“I think realistically, clubs like ourselves have the opportunity to get to the latter stages, and probably for us meaning the latter stages as the quarter-finals. That’s probably something that’s a bit more realistic than winning it.

“Every now and again there will be somebody left field that goes and wins one of the cup competitions. There are always going to be teams of our level that pull out a few surprises and get to a good stage of the competition.”