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Connolly in line to make Brighton debut


Aaron Connolly. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Aaron Connolly. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Aaron Connolly. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Galway teenager Aaron Connolly is in line for a Brighton debut in their League Cup clash with Bristol Rovers tonight, with the striking situation at first-team level opening a massive window of opportunity.

Connolly (19) has been knocking on the door at Brighton and won acclaim from outside the club when he was named the overall player of the year in Premier League 2 - the U23 league that brings together the second strings from England's top clubs.

He starred at that level before an injury-interrupted loan spell at Brighton, but has kicked off the new PL2 campaign by scoring three goals in his opening two games.

Brighton boss Graham Potter has indicated that Connolly will feature in the away date with League One side Rovers, managed by Irishman Graham Coughlan.

It could be a well-timed senior debut for the club as the weekend dismissal of Florin Andone means the front man will be out for three matches.

Irish U21 international Connolly is a left-sided attacker who is comfortable with the ball at his feet and it's possible that his technical style will endear him to Potter.

"He is certainly in the group that will go there," said Potter. "He has been training well, he has a certain quality. He runs in behind and he threatens the goal."

Adam Idah is also in contention for a Norwich bow in their tie away to Crawley. The 18-year-old has also been fast-tracked into the Irish U21 squad and was handed a new four-year deal at Norwich in the summer.

Manager Daniel Farke said yesterday that Idah would not be going out on loan and would be considered for the Crawley encounter.

"Adam Idah isn't far away," he said. "There are no gifts for young players and I will only throw them in when they are prepared. He always trains with us and is an option."

Mick McCarthy will be keeping an eye on the midweek matches with a view to assessing players that are in need of minutes.

Shane Long should come into contention for Southampton's trip to Fulham, although Michael Obafemi might be further up the pecking order given he has made the bench for the opening Premier League fixtures.