SussexBaggie speaks…the FA Cup and transfer window

Last updated : 01 February 2012 By Wba-mad Editor

Last weekend saw us knocked out of the FA Cup by Norwich City, as they picked up a rather fortunate 2-1 win at The Hawthorns in a game which was very similar to our league meeting just two weeks previously, which ended in the same disappointment for Albion fans.

I wasn’t at the game, but it sounds as though it was an example of a typical Albion home game this season – we don’t do particularly badly, but don’t play with the same kind of attacking intent as we tend to away from home and end up losing to a very late goal.

Although staying in the Premier League is more important, I was really hoping for an FA Cup run this season and thought we had a reasonable chance of doing well in the competition bearing in mind both Manchester City and Manchester United have been knocked out after the fourth round.

After the disappointment of being knocked out of the FA Cup, attention turned to last night’s transfer deadline. I expect very few Albion fans thought we would do much business, if any, on deadline day, but Roy Hodgson and Dan Ashworth surprised us all by bringing in two players.

Fresh faces

The first to arrive was Liam Ridgewell, who we have signed for an undisclosed fee from Birmingham City. Some of our supporters seem fairly underwhelmed by this signing, but I think Ridgewell is exactly the kind of player we need to provide competition at left-back and hopefully ensure that we become stronger defensively.

The other signing we made came only about 20 minutes before the transfer window closed, and was the surprise signing of central midfielder Keith Andrews from Blackburn Rovers. He is a typical Hodgson signing: a solid player who has plenty of experience. Although we don’t really need strengthening in central midfield, I can only assume that Hodgson sees something in Andrews which he does not see in the likes of Youssouf Mulumbu and Paul Scharner, or that he intends to push one of our more attacking midfield players out wide in the absence of Chris Brunt.

When you add these two signings to the arrival of Scott Allan earlier in the transfer window, I don’t think we can complain too much with the signings we have made. 

We could have done with signing a winger and/or a striker, but I believe that Hodgson will find a way of getting round our apparent lack of depth in this area of our squad.

We have also allowed a few players to leave the club during this transfer window. Roman Bednar (Blackpool), Romaine Sawyers (Shrewsbury Town on loan) and Gonzalo Jara-Reyes and Joe Mattock (both Brighton on loan) have all left the club this month.

First return


Tonight (Wednesday) sees us take on Fulham at Craven Cottage, in a game which will be a bit different to our normal trips to West London. It marks the first time Hodgson has returned to Fulham since leading them to the Europa League final in 2010.

Both Ridgewell and Andrews are ineligible for this game after not registering in time yesterday, but Steven Reid could be returning to the squad after recovering from injury, as could Jerome Thomas.

However, a big loss for Albion could be the possible absence of Shane Long, who is now suffering from a digestive problem as well as the back complaint which has led to him being very carefully managed over the last few weeks.

With this in mind, it will be very interesting to see how Hodgson plays it against a Fulham side who have won four of their last five games at Craven Cottage.

The system we played at Stoke City during our previous Premier League fixture worked well, but I get the impression that the system used on that occasion may only be used when we play particularly physical and direct opposition, something which Fulham are not really.

It is impossible to predict how the Albion will get on in any game, but hopefully we can play well and pick up a positive result!

Boing Boing! 

What team would you play tonight against Fulham? Have your say here at Baggies Banter