Albion will aim for a repeat of last season’s cup heroics as they again host Newcastle United – in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.
A solo Will Buckley effort handed the Seagulls a path to the 5th round at the expense of a lacklustre Magpies side in January 2012, and Poyet’s men will be hoping to pull off a similar upset and try and further spark a New Year revival at the Albion. The television cameras may well be in agreement.
Alan Pardew’s Toon have been a shadow of the side that won plenty of plaudits in the Premier League last season, as they currently find themselves in 15th place – with only 2 wins in their last 15 outings. Despite a handful of injuries, they’ll be wanting to find some light relief as they turn attentions to the cup.
Gus Poyet is keen to see his players sticking to their usual game as they tackle a top flight team who will look to impose their own style.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “I was very impressed with the power, strength and how competitive Newcastle were against Everton. If it’s the same type of game on Saturday then it will be very difficult for us. It is up to us to make it a different game and I have to concentrate on picking the players that are good enough to do that.
“We need to be solid and good technically. If we impose our game and they don’t have their best of days then we will see. They are very quick and strong and will make it difficult for us to play our style of football, but that’s what we need to do.
“I prefer to play Premier League teams and not Championship sides, so it’s great for us. When you play against better teams you need to be very good and make it difficult for them as well as hoping for a bit of luck. This game is even more interesting because of last year. Newcastle will come here in a different way, they will make it even more difficult and it will be another great game of football for the supporters.”
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
Bruno and Inigo Calderon remain sidelined, meaning David Lopez looks set to continue at right-wing back, with the Seagulls light in defence.
Will Buckley has recovered quicker than expected from a hamstring injury, but will most likely take a place on the bench, whilst Vicente misses out.
Player to watch: David Lopez
The ex-Bilbao midfielder has showcased all his La Liga experience in recent weeks as he’s filled in at an unfamiliar right-wing back position with unerring competence. Showing a great eye for a pass from deep positions, Lopez will be looking deliver another accomplished performance in-front of the cameras on Saturday.
Newcastle United Team News:
Newcastle have been hit by further injuries, with Pardew revealing that both Papiss Cisse and Fabricio Coloccini have both ruled out of this tie.
Cheick Tiote is away for for African Cup of Nations, whilst Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez and Steven Taylor, amongst others, remain sideline by injury.
Player to watch: Shola Ameobi
The towering Nigerian proved to be one of Toon’s more capable performers in the corresponding cup tie last season, and will be required to step up to the plate in the absence of the recently departed Demba Ba, and the injured Papiss Cisse. Bound to pose an aerial threat against an Albion defence who can often looked vulnerable in the air.
As already mentioned, the Seagulls edged out the North-East outfit at the Amex last season, with Will Buckley (technically a Mike Williamson o.g) securing a 1-0 win.
You would have to go back to March 1990 to find the last meeting that Newcastle came out on top in, with the Seagulls winning 3 and drawing 2 of their 5 fixtures since.