Albion striker Akpom set for Derby squad, Pocognoli close to return, but new signing Forren is 'not up to speed'

Sebastien Pocognoli
Sebastien Pocognoli
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Chuba Akpom is set to return to Brighton & Hove Albion's match day squad for their Championship clash with Derby on Friday night, but Sebastien Pocognoli will miss out.

New signing, Norwegian defender Vegard Forren meanwhile, is unlikely to feature in the game with Albion boss Chris Hughton admitting he needs to get up to speed with his fitness levels.

Striker Chuba Akpom missed last Saturday's loss at Nottingham Forest and midweek win at Rotherham due to a minor knee problem, but Hughton revealed he had trained on Thursday morning and would be included in the 20-man squad.

Full-back Pocognoli, who experienced a re-occurrence of his groin injury against Newcastle, is 'close but not close not enough to be involved' in the evening fixture at the Amex.

Fellow defender Gataen Bong (knee) is also still sidelined.

On Forren, Hughton revealed: "He has done one day's training, but we were aware of where he is with his fitness and it's for us to assess over the next few days of where he is.

"Certainly, we were aware he has not been playing games and he is not up to speed. It will just be a process now of getting him up to speed as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, Hughton has reiterated that Shane Duffy will be out for a minimum of six weeks.

He said: "He has had the operation which we stated the other day, certainly at this moment he will be out for a minimum of six weeks. That is something we anticipated when we knew the decision to operate. It's a blow for us, but one we have to work around.

"Uwe Hünemeier came in at Rotherham and did well for us, but we will look forward to getting Shane back as quickly as possible."