STEVE Bruce says no-one at Sunderland should underestimate how difficult tonight’s cup tie at Brighton could be for the Black Cats.
And he promised fans he will not be taking lightly the challenge presented by one of the Championship’s form teams.
“Brighton are a good side with a good young manager and right now they’re flying,” observed the Black Cats boss.
“They’re probably thinking now is a good time to play us and I know they’ll be looking to make the most of home advantage and the cup atmosphere.
“So it’s potentially a real banana skin for us and we have to make sure that we go there and are professional and give a good account of ourselves.”
Bruce hasn’t forgotten the two teams meeting in pre-season a couple of years ago in Portugal and the Seagulls proving to be the better side on the night, despite the game finishing 1-1.
He said: “It was only a pre-season game so you never read too much into it, but you could tell that Brighton had some decent players and were being encouraged to play good football.
“Since then they have successfully built on those foundations and there’s no doubt they are a club going in the right direction.
“They were always on top in League One last season and rightly went up as Champions.
“And this season they have started superbly for a newly-promoted club – unbeaten in the league with three wins and a draw from their opening four games.”
This will be Sunderland’s first visit to the new purpose-built Amex Stadium – Brighton having finally moved on from several frustrating years at the Withdean Athletics Stadium.
“I think they’ll have had a massive boost from the opening of their new stadium,” said Bruce. “They’re bound to if they suddenly move into a brand spanking new ground after years playing at a ground that wasn’t ideal for them.
“They’ve got a new home, they’re full of confidence so they’ll looking forward to tonight’s cup game as a chance to make a mark.
“We’ve got to make sure that we do ourselves justice on the night and I’ll be determined we do that because the cup competitions are us.
“It’s an area that we want to do well in this season and although I’ll be making changes I’ll be putting out a side which should be strong enough to win us the game on the night.”
H Brighton have signed midfielder Ryan Harley from Swansea for an undisclosed fee.
Manager Gus Poyetsaid: “It’s no secret we have been interested in Ryan for some time now and it is clear Ryan wants to play, so we are delighted.”
to have finally brought Ryan to Brighton.”