Brighton v Coventry City
Seagulls in form, Sky Blues not so
Despite a decent run of form Brighton go into this FA Cup fifth round tie just two points above the Premier League drop zone, and while a good cup run is welcomed, top-flight safety remains the number one priority.
That should mean Chris Hughton will rotate his starting XI for the visit of Coventry, though with Brighton's next Premier League game - albeit a crucial one against in-form Swansea - being seven days away there's no reason that the Seagulls boss shouldn't start the game with a fairly strong line-up, with plenty of back-up on the bench should it be needed.
Brighton are unbeaten in four in all competitions but undoubtedly their best form has come at the Amex Stadium where they have lost just three times all season. Those defeats were against three of the Premier League's top four clubs, evidence if needed just how tough Coventry's task will be on Saturday.
The Sky Blues are currently ninth in League Two, which is some 63 places below Brighton in the league ladder, and they travel south on Saturday on the back of three straight league defeats. Could that suggest they've hit a poor run of form, or have they simply taken their eye off the ball with this money-spinning cup tie on the horizon?
Mark Robins - the man credited with saving Sir Alex Ferguson's job at Manchester United due to his own exploits in this competition - is confident that his men won't be overawed on Saturday and if playing to their absolute best, although admitting Brighton will need to be below par, then a cup shock isn't entirely out of the question.
Class should prevail
Brighton are the 1.384/11 favourites to progress to the sixth round at the first time of asking, and for those who like to back 'shorties' then I don't think that's the worst price in the world this weekend.
Hughton's men are rock solid at the Amex, remaining unbeaten in 12 league and cup games against clubs currently outside of the Premier League's top four. And they also have a strong pedigree in the FA Cup on home soil, losing just two of their last 15 home ties, both of those defeats coming at the hands of Arsenal.
Coventry can be backed at 12.011/1 to produce the upset with the Draw available at 5.24/1. Although the Sky Blues defeated out-of-form Stoke in round three you sense that a stalemate is the best they can hope for in this tie, especially given the fact that no fourth-tier side has ever eliminated two Premier League clubs in the same FA Cup campaign before.
Hughton is likely to make some changes to his starting XI but whichever line-up he fields should be too strong for Robins' men on Saturday. A home win at 1.384/11 looks banker bet material to me but backing Brighton -1 on the handicap at 11/10 on the Betfair Sportsbook appeals just as much.
I fully expect the Seagulls to win comfortably and don't see any reason to mess around with Correct Score or Goalscorer punts until the team line-ups are known. Play this one simple, back Brighton to win with room to spare.