Graham Potter hints striker Percy Tau could make Brighton debut at Newport
Tau has spent the last two-and-a-half years on loan in Belgium,
Brighton boss Graham Potter feels Percy Tau can add a different dimension to his squad – and could hand the South Africa striker his long-awaited debut in Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Newport.
Tau joined the Seagulls in 2018, but has spent the last two-and-a-half years on loan in Belgium and helped Club Brugge win the title last season.
The 26-year-old again impressed during his spell with Anderlecht this season, scoring four goals in 15 games.
Following the end of the Brexit transition period with the European Union, Brighton have been able to receive a ‘Governing Body Endorsement’ from the Football Association, which is a new points-based system for non-English players, and secured a work permit for the South African.
Tau brings with him Champions League experience, as well as a ringing endorsement from Anderlecht boss Vincent Kompany.
Potter hopes the 26-year-old will now make the most of his opportunities ahead in England.
“It is exciting for him and it is exciting for us. Now we need to help him settle in,” the Brighton boss said. “We want to help him take the next step in his career, that is the challenge for him.
“He has been training and playing in Belgium, so he is OK in terms of match speed and training time. It’s just a case of him adapting to us. He will be involved in the group at the weekend.”
Potter continued: “He is a left-footed attacking player, plays in different positions, he attacks the goal, he progresses with the ball, he plays in spaces.
“He is able to find passes and dribble with the ball. It’s just a case of him settling into the team and for us to find the best way to use him.
“I think he will adapt quickly from what I saw today. He has a nice personality, fits in with the group well and then his attributes are quite easy to fit around, so I don’t see a problem there.
“There is competition in the team which you would expect in the Premier League, but that is good for us, we need that healthy competition.”
Potter confirmed full-back Tariq Lamptey had a “little setback” in his rehabilitation from a hamstring problem, while forward Aaron Connolly is also sidelined by a hamstring injury picked up in last week’s 3-3 draw with Wolves.
Midfielder Adam Lallana is doubtful through illness and striker Danny Welbeck will miss out with his knee issue.
Veteran forward Glenn Murray has been linked with a loan switch to QPR, having seen his chances of regular football at Watford limited.
Brighton boss Potter said he was “not aware” of any imminent change for the 37-year-old.
“I bumped into him the other day walking the dogs actually, but we didn’t talk about that (loan at Watford),” Potter added.
“He wants to play as much as he can in his final seasons, so I guess I can understand his desire to do something but I haven’t spoken to him about it.
Potter also maintained Alireza Jahanbakhsh was still “part of the group”, and played down reports in Iran that the forward was unsettled.
“We are trying to help him improve,” said Potter.
“He would like to play more as every player in the group would, that’s normal. There is no problem with Ali at all.”