A break from league action will be welcomed by both Bournemouth and Brighton after a tough Christmas schedule, with the FA Cup tie at the Vitality Stadium.
Both sides are on the back of draws, with the Cherries sharing the spoils with Watford in a six-goal thriller at home to the Hornets. Goals from Nathan Ake, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser secured a point after Watford had raced into a two-goal lead.
The Seagulls drew 2-2 with West Ham at the London Stadium courtesy of goals from Shane Duffy and Dale Stephens, who scored his first goal in the Premier League.
Eddie Howe’s side go into the tie with two losses against Tottenham and Manchester United, and the draw with Watford in their first game of 2019.
Chris Hughton’s men enter the game with a good run of form behind them. A draw against Arsenal and a 1-0 victory at home to Everton was followed by the 2-2 draw against the Hammers and should be full of confidence as they look to progress to the 4th round.
Brighton will be without Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Mat Ryan, who are away on Asia Cup duty. Jose Izquierdo also misses out with a knee injury sustained last month.
They are boosted by Dan Burn’s availability after his loan at Wigan ended, and he is in line to make his Seagulls debut.
Chris Hughton also confirmed that U23 forward Viktor Gyokeres will be involved, as well as goalkeeper Jason Steele who will make his debut.
Brighton are likely to line up as follows: Steele, Bruno, Balogun, Burn, Bong, Knockaert, Kayal, Bissouma, Gyokeres, Andone, Locadia.
Bournemouth are without Adam Smith, who is still recovering from a knee injury but will have Emerson Hyndman and Matt Worthington available after respective loan spells with Hibernian and Forest Green Rovers.
Howe has insisted to make changes as a number of his players are “carrying knocks”.
22-year-old Yves Bissouma, a bright midfielder who has delivered some eye-catching performances already for the Seagulls, will have a huge impact on Brighton’s chances to come away from Bournemouth with a win and progression to the next round. Quick and strong on the ball, coupled with skill and quick feet, the Malian international looks to drive at goal and create chances for himself and his teammates.
Players such as Jordon Ibe and Lys Mousset will be key for Bournemouth, as they are players who look to drive at the defence and create clear chances again for themselves or teammates. The Seagulls’ defence will need to be on top of their game to contain the pace of both Ibe and Mousset.