Brighton manager Chris Hughton admitted he was relieved to see £14million forward Jurgen Locadia come through his debut unscathed.
Club record signing Locadia, bought from PSV Eindhoven four weeks ago, finally pulled on an Albion shirt in the 3-1 FA Cup fifth round victory over Coventry after arriving in England with a hamstring injury.
The Dutchman had not played first-team football for more than two months but he opened the scoring against the League Two Sky Blues, before headers from Connor Goldson and Leonardo Ulloa sealed the Seagulls’ spot in the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in 32 years.
Locadia received a standing ovation when he was substituted with 13 minutes remaining and Hughton was pleased with the 24-year-old’s instant impact and that he can now play a part in Brighton’s Premier League survival bid.
“To get off the mark so early in your first game, (I’m) really delighted for him,” said Hughton.
“But what’s more important is that he came through the game.
“He hasn’t played for close to two months now and (it was) important that he came through with no issues and looked quite strong.
“Although you’re very confident in the injury because he’s trained for two-and-a-half-weeks now and not felt it, I would think he would go into the game not so sure how he’s going to feel in the game, fitness-wise.
“To get off the mark in your first game, I’m sure will give him a lift.”
Albion’s last quarter-final appearance came back in 1986.
Asked if he had a squad capable of lifting the cup this season, Hughton replied: “I have no idea.
“I’ve got a team here that’s capable of getting through to the quarter-finals.
“But when the quarter-final comes, there are a lot of the big teams in there and we’ve found it very difficult against the big six, as such.
“You want to be fortunate with the draw and that means trying to get a home tie.
“And I suppose once the draw’s made you’re able then to analyse the level of difficulty that next round will be for us.”
League Two Coventry, the lowest ranked team in the fifth round, pulled one back late on through Jonson Clarke-Harris but they never really threatened an unlikely upset at the Amex Stadium.
Sky Blues boss Mark Robins felt his players acquitted themselves well against superior opposition and was pleased they showed attacking intent.
“I think first and foremost, you’ve got to understand the age of our team – we’re very, very young,” said Robins.
“When you come and play in a game like this, you’re hoping they have an off day and they didn’t, they worked really, really hard so credit to them.
“We found it difficult to cope with the movement because they’re a passing team.
“Rather than wanting to park the bus, we wanted to try and take part in the game.
“And it was important for us to do that. It’s a big, big learning curve for the players today.
“It was a good experience for us, in terms of learning and development but also I thought we were a threat, we didn’t just sit back.”