FA Cup run or Premier League survival? Graham Potter explains Brighton's mental approach to Blackpool and Fulham

Graham Potter has warned Brighton could suffer FA Cup embarrassment if they become preoccupied with their Premier League relegation scrap.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 1:06 pm
Graham Potter's Brighton welcome Blackppol in the FA Cup this Saturday quickly followed by Fulham in the Premier League on Wednesday

Albion host League One Blackpool in the fourth round on Saturday but could be forgiven for having one eye on Wednesday’s top-flight clash with fellow strugglers Fulham.

Albion head coach Potter, whose side scraped past League Two Newport on penalties in the last round, insists the forthcoming visit of Fulham will not influence his approach against the Neil Critchley's team.

“We’ve got to get into a mentality just to focus on the next match and try to win the next match, which is Blackpool,” he said.

“We did that against Newport. We picked the team that we thought was going to be the right team to play against Newport, some of those guys played against Manchester City (three days later), quite a few of them did.

“We know we need to be at our best, we know we need a bit of luck, and we have to play well to go through against Blackpool, it’s as simple as that.

“As soon as you start looking too far ahead, you cause yourself a problem.

“We will try to pick a team that can give us a good chance to win the game – that’s what we want to do, to win the game and go through.”

Brighton sit one place and five points above 18th-placed Fulham and will be desperate to pull further away from the relegation zone in midweek.

The Seagulls halted a nine-game winless run in the top flight with last weekend’s 1-0 success over Leeds at Elland Road.

Potter says beating Marcelo Bielsa’s men, which followed FA Cup progression and an encouraging performance during the 1-0 loss to Manchester City, has lifted the mood among his squad.

“It’s just nice to win. It’s been a long while since we have so of course the feeling is positive,” he said.

“I think the boys rightly so are in a nice feeling but we know we have to start again on Saturday.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do in terms of going through against Blackpool but also picking up points in the Premier League.”

Blackpool, who occupy 16th position in the third tier, travel south seeking their second Premier League scalp of the competition having knocked out West Brom on penalties in round three.

After being given a major scare by Newport, Potter stressed that Brighton do not take lower-league opposition lightly.

“We went to Newport with the respect of what they have done in previous years and we have the same respect for Neil Critchley and Blackpool,” he said.

“They have earned the right to be here. They have got a really good idea of how they want to play and I have been really impressed with what I have seen.

“It wasn’t luck that got them this far. They’re a well-coached team. The respect we have for teams in the lower leagues is very high.”

Potter will continue to be without a host of first-team players for the game.

Goalkeeper Jason Steele (illness), defender Tariq Lamptey (hamstring), midfielder Adam Lallana (groin) and forwards Alireza Jahanbakhsh (unspecified), Danny Welbeck (knee) and Aaron Connolly (hamstring) remain sidelined.