Michael Owen makes bold Brighton prediction for FA Cup clash at West Brom - plus Matt Clarke and Jayson Molumby latest

Former Liverpool striker and FA Cup winner Michael Owen believes Brighton are in for a tough afternoon at West Bromwich Albion as they start their FA Cup campaign

Michael Owen believes Brighton are in for a tough afternoon at West Brom

Graham Potter's Brighton, who are ninth in the Premier League, will travel to the Hawthorns and take on Valérien Ismaël's West Brom in a third round clash.

The Baggies are fourth in the Championship and chasing promotion to the Premier League.

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The FA Cup may not be the No 1 priority for the home side but Owen still predicts a tough battle in the midlands despite a a tough recent run of results for the hosts.

"West Brom are on a poor run of form and have lost their place in the automatic promotion spots in the Championship," wrote Owen in his Bet Victor prediction blog. "Brighton are having a fantastic season and can look to add to it in the FA Cup.

"I think this will be close, but I think Brighton will edge it - 2-1."

Ismael will be forced to make at least five changes to his squad for the FA Cup third-round tie at home to Premier League side Brighton.

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and midfielder Alex Mowatt are suspended after they were sent off against Cardiff last Sunday.

Semi Ajayi has gone on international duty with Nigeria, and loan duo Matthew Clarke and Jayson Molumby are unable to play against their parent club.

Ismael said “one or two” of the younger, fringe members of his squad could expect to be included.

Daryl Dike, signed at the start of the month from Orlando City, is being prepared to make his Albion debut against QPR on January 15 and is not expected to feature against the Seagulls, but Matt Phillips could feature after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Brighton defender Adam Webster is likely to miss out. The centre-back, who played the full 90 minutes in last Sunday’s 3-2 Premier League win at Everton, is suffering from fatigue.

Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk remains sidelined by a knee injury and Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma is unavailable due to his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Danny Welbeck could make his first start since returning from a three-month injury absence but fellow forwards Jurgen Locadia and Aaron Connolly were this week allowed to leave the club.