(Reuters) - Brighton and Hove Albion’s record signing Jurgen Locadia will start Saturday’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Coventry City, manager Chris Hughton said on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Dutch forward has been recovering from a hamstring injury sustained before sealing his move from PSV Eindhoven last month for a reported fee of 14.1 million pounds ($19.8 million).
Locadia returned to training earlier this month and appeared in the squad for the first time as an unused substitute in Brighton’s 1-1 draw at Stoke City in the Premier League last weekend.
“Jurgen will start against Coventry,” Hughton told a news conference. “We brought him in to give us the options we need up front. We want him to settle in, provide competition up front and get some goals for us.
“Anyone coming into the team has to work hard but he’s a player who has scored goals this season, hence why we brought him in.
“He’s fully cleared from the injury but this will raise fitness levels and give him a chance to integrate into the team in a game as opposed in training.”
Brighton, currently 14th in the league, have recorded just one victory in their last eight matches to stay two points clear of the relegation zone.
Hughton believes reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup has helped his squad stay positive during a difficult recent run of results.
“The cup run has helped the squad. When you’re a player who’s training well and needs opportunities it gives you a chance,” he added.
“We’re very conscious that Coventry will be fighting very hard at the weekend - but we’ve been given a good opportunity. We’re delighted to still be in the competition.”
Brighton host fourth-tier side Coventry, who are the lowest ranked team left in the competition.
($1 = 0.7100 pounds)
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis