Fit-again Florin Andone could make Brighton debut against Southampton, manager Chris Hughton confirms
Andone, bought from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna, featured in pre-season but has been sidelined with a groin problem.
But in a news conference Hughton revealed that the Romania forward will play for Brighton’s Under-23 side on Friday ahead of Monday’s Premier League trip to Southampton.
“We haven’t seen enough of him,” said Hughton. “He’s been involved pre-season so he’s not one that’s been injured throughout the pre-season period but of course his time in the games has been limited.
“He’ll probably play 45 minutes tomorrow night [for the Under-23 team], possibly more and then we’ll made a decision [about the Southampton game].”
Andone’s return to fitness will provide competition for in-form striker Glenn Murray and Dutch forward Jurgen Locadia.
Murray has already registered three goals this season, netting twice in Brighton’s 2-2 draw with Fulham before the international break, but Hughton hopes Andone’s return to fitness can keep the 34-year-old on his toes.
“He’s been good Glenn but it’s something we’re used to,” Hughton added. “He goes about his business the right way, he knows what his strengths are.
“Particularly at his age, he prepares himself and looks after himself as well as any professional and that gives him a chance.
“With Andone playing tomorrow, it gives us real good competition and I think that competition is good for all our team and particularly for our front players, and I think Glenn has benefited from that.”