• Capital One Cup Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton and Hove Albion

    With the pressure continuing to mount on him after another Championship game without a win taking their current run to 10, Albion boss Sami Hyypia may be relieved to see the pressure taken off them for the most part this evening in the Fourth Round of the Capital One Cup.

    Whilst a win would do wonders for their confidence, The Seagull’s go into tonight’s game at White Hart Lane knowing that playing against Premier League opponents in Tottenham Hotspur, they will be clear underdogs and not expected to make it through to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

    If this is the end of the road in the tournament for Hyypia’s side, they can take some solace in the fact that they have gone further than any other Brighton team in the competition for over 30 years.

    On the last occasion they reached round four, Alan Mullery’s men took fellow top flight side and Spurs’ arch rivals Arsenal to a replay and came out second best by a long shot.

    With their form in the Premier League so far not matching pre-season expectations, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs could also do the with the distraction of the cup competition at this stage in the season.

    Currently they are sat in 11th after nine games played, and have only one three times in the league this season, along with seeing off Nottingham Forest in the previous round of the cup.

    Having spent a large amount of their history in the top division of English football, it’s not a surprise that there have been only 16 meeting between the pair. Tonight’s hosts lead the way in victories with seven, with Albion having won three and drawn three more.

    Carpenter strikes past Spurs in last encounter between the sides

    The last encounter in North London between the teams took place almost 10 years in the Third Round of the FA Cup in January 2005. On that occasion Albion went behind twice to goals from Ledley King and a spectacular volley from Robbie Keane, which Richard Carpenter’s free kick for Mark McGhee’s side just after half time squeezed inbetween those., leaving the final score 2-1 to the home side, but Albion having given a good account of themselves.

    You have to go back to the 1981-82 season to find the Seagull’s only win at the Lane, with Mark Robinson scoring the only goal of the game on 70 minutes under Mike Bailey.

    Whilst in previous rounds squad rotation has been a feature of the starting XI against lower placed clubs, whether Hyypia chooses to do so against top flight opposition tonight is unclear.

    David Stockdale is unlikely to lose his place in goal, whilst a return to the side for Bruno depends on whether he has recovered from the groin problem that has kept him out of the past few matches. Aaron Hughes is likely to start ahead of either Lewis Dunk or Gordon Greer, whilst Adam Chicksen could feature ahead of Joe Bennett.

    With Danny Holla not featuring in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Rotherham it’s likely he’ll anchor the midfield tonight, however a start again for Rohan Ince is possible also. Sue to injuries Jake Forster-Caskey and Gary Gardner are likely to start in the midfield three also.

    With Sam Baldock cup tied and Craig Mackail-Smith likely to be only fit to start from the bench at best, a number of options regarding the front three players in attack could be utilised.

    Whilst a return to the line-up for Kazenga Lua Lua after serving his suspension for picking up a red card at Huddersfield is likely, the other two names to fill the team sheet are not certain.

    CMS back in contention but likely start on the bench

    Going by previous games a place for Adrian Colunga playing behind Chris O’Grady would be that you’d expect. However with the former Barnsley front man continuing to look toothless in games, Hyypia could consider utilising Spaniard Colunga up top on his own, with Joao Teixeira or Paddy McCourt playing in the role just behind him alongside Lua Lua.

    Speaking to the club’s official website ahead of tomorrow night’s game, right-back Inigo Calderon agrees that it’s a chance to prove their doubters wrong and give themselves a positive boost when they are back in league action next weekend.

    “We are not in the best position in the league and we are having problems getting points on the board, but if we do something good on Wednesday then we can take that into Saturday’s game against Bournemouth.

    “If we play well on the night then it proves to people that we are not a bad side, especially against a side like Tottenham.“

    In reality this is another experience for Albion fans to enjoy an evening out at a top-flight stadium whilst knowing their side can go there and play with nothing to lose.

    Possibly though this has come at the wrong time, with some players perhaps of the opinion they’d rather be working on getting things right for them and the fans in the Championship

    However, whilst there is now increasing pressure for them to perform in the league, against such strong opposition in Spurs we wouldn’t be expected to come out on top, however it would do wonders for everyone if we could get a shock victory.

    Neither side are in good form, and that does open the door for Hyypia’s men to take a chance at causing an upset.
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