Brighton boss Graham Potter: more to come from Ireland’s Aaron Connolly

Under-21 international could be set for more first team action against Villa in League Cup

Aaron Connolly in action for Brighton against Newcastle. Photograph: Dan Istitene/Getty

Aaron Connolly in action for Brighton against Newcastle. Photograph: Dan Istitene/Getty

 

Brighton boss Graham Potter feels there is plenty more to come from teenager Aaron Connolly as he prepares for another taste of first-team action in the Carabao Cup.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international impressed as a second-half substitute against Newcastle on Sunday, seeing a goalbound effort acrobatically cleared off the line by Fabian Schar.

The 19-year-old is expected to get another chance to showcase his potential in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup tie at home to Aston Villa.

Potter believes Connolly, who scored his first senior goal in the last round against Bristol Rovers, has all the required talents to make an impact.

“He has been with us since the start (of the season) and trains every day with the group,” the Brighton boss said.

“Aaron feels comfortable with the boys — you can see his qualities, he wants to run and score goals.

“But he is a young player and we are just making sure he has the right pathway to the team and help him to improve every day.

“He is at that stage of his career where he just needs to focus on his football and try to improve, to understand the opportunity he has got.

“We are happy to have him with us, but at the same time we all know he needs time to improve.”

Having seen his side leave Newcastle with a point following Sunday’s goalless draw, Potter feels things are moving in the right direction, despite having not won in the Premier League since the opening weekend.

“If you analyse our six league matches we are a little disappointed with the points tally because I think our performances have been consistently good,” the Brighton boss said at a press conference.

“We are at the start of what we are trying to do and we want to improve.

“We have been close to getting wins, competitive in the games, but have not quite managed it. That, though, is the challenge of the Premier League.

“We just need to focus on what we are doing to get the wins and I am sure they will come.”

Potter has been impressed by the way Dean Smith has revived Aston Villa, taking the Midlands club up via the play-offs — if now finding the top flight tough going.

“I know Aston Villa well from last year when they came up from the Championship, Dean Smith did a fantastic job since he took over, I like a lot of what they do,” the Brighton boss said.

“However, again, pretty much like a lot of teams in the Premier League, it is not so easy to get points.”

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