Graham Potter explains his firm Aaron Connolly stance ahead of Newcastle

Brighton striker Aaron Connolly has been sanctioned by the club for a breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:56 pm
Aaron Connolly could still feature at Newcastle despite an alleged breach of lockdown rules

The 21-year-old Republic of Ireland international reportedly invited a woman into a house in which he had been staying.

Seagulls manager Graham Potter said: “It’s something we have dealt with internally, the club is dealing with it.

“Clearly a mistake has been made. Our position is quite clear. The players know their responsibilities, they know what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

“Aaron’s made a mistake, we’ve dealt with that and we have to move on. He’s a human being. These things happen.

“Clearly it’s not something we’re happy about, but it’s been dealt with.”

Connolly has been suffering with back issues recently and a cracked rib saw him miss the victory at Southampton last week.

The striker, who has two goals this season, trained with the group and also made himself available for Ireland's upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Potter though remained tight lipped on whether he will feature against Newcastle at the Amex this Saturday.

"We’ve got a few to make a decision on," said Potter. "So I need to think about that. But he’s trained, he’s available and I will have to make the call, probably tomorrow."

Brighton will be without Adam Webster (ankle), while Solly March (knee), Tariq Lamptey (hamstring) and Florin Andone (knee) remain long term absentees.

Dan Burn, who tweaked his hamstring in the win at Southampton and was substituted at halftime, could however recover in time.

"He’s responded well," said Potter. "He will train tomorrow, he could be available for the weekend which is good news for us. Apart from that, there’s no fresh problems."

Brighton are 16th and three points above the drop and one place and one point above Steve Bruce's Newcastle. Victory against the Magpies would be a huge step forward in Albion's bid to avoid the drop.

"All the games in the Premier League are huge and that’s how I think about them<" said the Albion boss. "When you’re in the situation that we’re in, the next game is always the most important game.

"Then you look at where the two teams are and that can add some extra importance. But it’s one in ten games, there’s a lot of football to play afterwards.

"But I am sure if you speak with Steve, he will say the same, three points will be very nice and it will help us achieve our goal for the end of the season, there’s nothing else to say.

"There’s two teams that’ll be fighting for the points that know they’re capable of winning. It’s an important game in the Premier League."