Brighton midfielder to undergo surgery and miss Southampton clash

Brighton and Hove Albion's key midfielder will miss the trip to Southampton and the remainder of the Premier League season.
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham PotterBrighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter

Steven Alzate has been troubled by a groin injury for the last six months and has not featured since the restart of the Premier League.

He last appeared for Albion as a late substitute during the 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium last February.

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He was due to have the surgery during the lockdown but it was delayed as Alzate displayed symptoms of coronavirus.

It's a disappointing end to a campaign that was on a whole a successful breakthrough season for Colombian international.

Alzate made an impressive Albion debut during the 0-0 draw at Newcastle and went on to make 22 appearances this season.

His versatility and composure on the ball has been key to his success and last month head coach Graham Potter said he, along with Dan Burn, have been the two players that have pleased him the most this season.

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Alzate, who is from London and born to Colombian parents, also impressed former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, who is currently in charge of the Colombian team.

The 21-year-old, who had an injury-hit loan spell at League Two Swindon last season, received his first international call-up for matches against Peru and Ecuador in November 2019.

Potter and Albion had hoped to have Alzate available for the final matches but he's been unable to play or train pain-free and the decision was made this week to proceed with the surgery.

"Steven Alzate will go in for some surgery and Jose Izquierdo long-term is still missing," said Potter speaking ahead of Thursday's trip to Southampton.

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"Aside from that, we have no new problems to report and everyone else is fully fit and ready to go."

Tariq Lamptey was rested for the Manchester City match but will hope to be back in the starting XI to face the Saints as will Dan Burn.

Neal Maupay also dropped to the bench last time out in favour of Aaron Connolly but Maupay - who is Albion's leading scorer with nine this season - could well lead the line at St Mary's.

Southampton, who drew 2-2 with Manchester United on Monday, will be without Sofiane Boufal, Yan Valery, Nathan Tella and Moussa Djenepo.

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Albion are five points above the Premier League relegation zone with three matches remaining. Victories last weekend for Watford, West Ham, Aston Villa and Bournemouth keeps the pressure on Brighton.

A win at St Mary's could confirm Albion's top flight status for next season but predicts a tough match, especially with their striker Danny Ings in such fine form.

Ings has 19 Premier League goals this season and will want to hit that 20-goal milestone this Thursday.

"To have that goal scoring threat is huge," said Potter. "It’s not just his goals he contributes in terms of how they work as a team, he contributes to what they’re trying to do.

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"He’s had a fantastic season so good luck to him obviously we’re hoping he has an off day when we play them but if you look at what he’s done achieved this year it’s fantastic."

Potter also praised the club for sticking by their coach Ralph Hasenhüttl following a hefty 9-0 loss to Leicester last October.

"I was impressed by how they acted through a difficult period this season," said Potter who saw his team beaten 5-0 by Man City last Saturday. "I’m sure a lot of football clubs and a lot of boards and a lot of people would’ve made different decisions after damaging results.

"But credit to them, they realised what’s a good coach Ralph is. They recognised how they can support, they recognised what they needed to work through as a club and they’ve got the rewards for that.

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"They’re a good team, they’ve got a good idea of what they do are doing, they recruited well of course and they’ve got a strong team and a balanced side."

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