Cup runs have hit promotion bid – Hughton

Birmingham City

Chris Hughton admits Birmingham's double cup adventure this season has affected their npower Championship promotion hopes.

But the City manager is adamant he would not have sacrificed the experience his younger players have gained from the Europa League and FA Cup runs for more league points. Blues will have played 63 games by May if they achieve their objective of returning to the Barclays Premier League via the play-offs.

Hughton, whose side lost an FA Cup replay 2-0 to Chelsea, said: “We said after all the cup games, even the Europa League, that we will embrace the competitions and get the best from them.

“We have enjoyed those cup runs but we also knew if we went out of any of the cups, it does give us that opportunity to concentrate on the league.

“It has been our biggest focus and it has to be. Have the cups been a welcome distraction? Yes they have but, of course, they have been a distraction.

“How would our league position be if we hadn’t been in the cups, then arguably we would have been in a better position. But if you ask me whether I would rather have done without the cups then I would have said no.”