Brighton boss Chris Hughton believes his side’s FA Cup run is giving him a Premier League selection headache.
Hughton made nine changes to his starting XI as Albion progressed to the quarter-finals of the cup competition for the first time in 32 years by beating League Two Coventry 3-1 on Saturday.
Debutant Jurgen Locadia, defender Connor Goldson and recent loan signing Leonardo Ulloa were among the men brought in and they all found the net, while other peripheral members of Albion’s squad also staked claims for more regular league action.
Brighton will now turn their attention back to the scrap for top-flight survival and Hughton acknowledges he has been given some difficult decisions to make ahead of next weekend’s clash with fellow strugglers Swansea.
“From our point of view, we’ve been very fortunate this season that we haven’t had a lot of injuries and when that’s the case you have a lot of players pushing to play,” said Hughton, whose team have been drawn away to Manchester United in the last eight of the cup.
“And, as you’ve seen in our rounds so far, we’ve very much used the squad and what that helps to create is a changing room where the large majority of players are getting games.
“That absolutely helps the competition we have in the squad.
“There has been that mainstay of the team but a lot of competition around that and it’s always difficult for me to pick a team.”
Record signing Locadia, a £14million buy from PSV Eindhoven, took just 15 minutes to open his Albion account before headers from Goldson and Ulloa secured a straightforward success against the Sky Blues.
Despite never really threatening an unlikely upset, Coventry – the lowest ranked team in the fifth round – performed admirably and gave their army of travelling fans something to cheer courtesy of a consolation from Jonson Clarke-Harris.
City manager Mark Robins was pleased with his players’ display on the south coast and hopes it can help kick-start a promotion push.
“We want to try and get promoted as quickly as we can from the division we’re playing in,” said Robins, whose 10th-place team are three points off the play-offs. “It’s a tough, tough division.
“You don’t come up against those problems every day but it was a good experience for us in terms of learning and development.
“We’ve got a decent group and we’ve got a reasonable chance of having success at the first attempt this season.”