Graham Potter outlines his Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck plan ahead of Southampton

Graham Potter admitted Brighton's two high-profile summer signings will have vital roles to play between now and the end of the season

Friday, 12th March 2021, 4:41 pm
The fitness of Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck will be vital to Brighton's relegation battle

The former England internationals arrived on free transfers and both have showed flashes of brilliance during the first part of the season.

A sustained run in the team has not proved possible however as injuries have hindered their progress in a Brighton shirt.

Welbeck, 30, missed a chunk of the season with a knee problem while Lallana has struggled with groin and hamstring issues.

Lallana, 32, finally looked fit and back to his best last time out during the 2-1 loss to Leicester. The former Southampton man played in a more advanced role and netted his first goal for Albion with a clever finish to open the scoring.

He also linked the play superbly and his touch and awareness of movement around him showed precisely what a fully fit Lallana can offer this Brighton team.

"He’s got that quality in any position he plays," said Potter of Lallana. "He can play deeper, he can more centrally higher up, he’s got that quality.

"It’s just how we use him game-to-game, sometimes the physical demand higher up the pitch means we can’t expose him too much, but still wherever he plays he has got fantastic ability and he helps the team."

Welbeck, who has two goals this campaign, is also back up to speed and is pushing hard for a starting role at St Mary's this Sunday.

"He’s got an important one," said Potter when asked what role the former Man United and Arsenal forward can offer.

"He’s been disappointed because he has missed some games, but he’s back.

"We’ve had to be careful in terms of making sure he gets the right amount of training and minutes. But he’s pushing and he’s going to be an important player for us for the rest of the season."

The Seagulls currently sit level on points with 18th-placed Fulham and are only above the dreaded drop zone on goal difference with just one top flight home win this campaign.

Brighton travel to Southampton on Sunday, and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side only ended their own sequence of nine games without a win in the Premier League by beating Sheffield United on Saturday and have just six more points than their south coast rivals.

"It will be fair to say it will be one of the most intense games of the season," said Potter. "They have a clear identity of how they want to play and I really respectful of what they’ve achieved there.

"They’ve had a bad run in terms of results, they had a win against Sheffield United that gets them back up and running. When we played them before, the moment we caught them in they were as good as anyone in the league, they were really strong and you don’t lose that quality.

"Sometimes the results can affect you, but you saw against Manchester City how well they can play. They’ve got a real clarity and understanding of what they want to do. It’ll be a tough game, absolutely."

Brighton will have to battle to avoid relegation without Tariq Lamptey, with Potter affirming that the 20-year-old will need surgery on an ongoing hamstring problem.

“It’s incredibly disappointing for him as you can imagine,” the Brighton manager said.

“(We) tried things but in the end it (surgery) was the best option, so now we just have to focus on getting him fit and strong and ready for the start of next season.

“It’s a big blow for him, but we’ve sort of got used to him not being available because he hasn’t been available for a while, but still it’s disappointing for us of course.”

Aaron Connolly (rib) and Adam Webster (ankle) are also ruled out.