As I sit here Gus and his team will be well underway to masterminding a cup upset at Stoke City.
It`s been an excellent Season so far for Brighton fans, 5th round of the Cup, top of the league with games in hand, New Stadium, choosing season ticket seats and plans underway for a new 15 million pound training complex, pinch me I must be dreaming. The team thus far has been fantastic, even in defeat we have played well and been unlucky to not walk out with at least a point, a missed penalty against Huddersfield away springs to mind.
So this weekend brings a welcome or even unwelcome distraction from the league depending on how full your glass is. Contrary to popular belief Stoke can play football and are not just a hoof and head it team of thugs which some Premiership managers will have you to believe. Yes they have the long throw of Rory Delap and the imperious Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross at the back, but if we had them in our side I`m sure even a football purist like Gus would use them. Tony Pullis is making the best of what is available to him, and doing a good job of it. The skill of Etherington, Tuncay and co will ensure that Stoke attack The Albion on all fronts in what is sure to be a stern test in Staffordshire.
From a Brighton point of view I hope we take the game to Stoke, that`s how we play and if it`s not broke don`t fix it. The Albion are flying in League One because no matter what happens we play our football, and if it doesn`t work, don`t panic, try again, play your football. This mentality is rife throughout the club. Our youth, reserve and Development squads are all taught to play with this philosophy. The development team recently hammered Fulham reserves at the training ground, proof that the whole club knows exactly the direction that they are heading in and how they should be doing it.
The fact that we are resting players for a cup tie proves how far we have come. Tommy Elphick and Peter Brezovan will almost certainly start at the Britannia Stadium despite neither of them having a minute of gsme time since the 4th round victory over Watford. I feel for these two more than anyone despite times being so good. Both of these players are excellent professionals who would walk into most League One sides and we`re integral to the resurgence at the back end of last season. Brezovan in particular can count himself unlucky as he would almost certainly be first choice but for a broken wrist sustained in the final week of pre season prompting the signing of Casper Ankergren. Elphick on the other hand was largely expected to partner Gordon Greer at the heart of Seagulls defence but the form of the previously dodgy El Abd has resigned Elphick to the bench.
So Roll on Stoke, a freezing cold but modern ground where history at the very least dictates that we will suffer a defeat, however it`s the cup, the FA Cup, the tournament where dreams are made and often come true, do I fancy an upset? Yeah why not, someone has to be the talk of the round, why can`t it be Brighton?