Double injury blow for Graham Potter and Brighton ahead of Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Leicester
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter will without two key players as old rivals Crystal Palace visit the Amex Stadium on Friday night
It was hoped influential skipper Lewis Dunk could return to the starting line-up to face Palace but the 30-year-old is still struggling with a knee injury sustained last December against West Ham United.
Dunk could be in contention for Tuesday’s visit of Chelsea but is more likely to be back for the trip to Leicester next weekend.
“He won’t be involved in the (Palace) game, it’s come around a little bit too soon for him, but we’re hopeful he will start training with the team, probably Sunday,” said Potter.
“We still need to see how he reacts. You’re looking at sort of six weeks he’s been away, but we just need to make sure he’s taking the right steps.
“(He is) not (ready) for Palace, possibly for Chelsea, but more possibly Leicester.”
The game will also arrived too soon for £23m summer signing Enock Mwepu who tweaked his hamstring in the 2-1 extra-time FA Cup win at West Brom last Saturday.
Mwepu is expected to be out for three to four weeks and is part of the reason why Albion recalled Ecuador international midfielder Moisés Caicedo from his loan spell in Belgium this week.
"It's his hamstring, a slight injury and he is looking at around four weeks," confirmed Potter.
Of Caicedo, Potter added: “He’s played games for Beerschot and his country, important World Cup qualification games there, so he’s had some good experiences,” said Potter.
“That six months will be invaluable to him and he adds to us.
“He can play quite a few positions in the midfield, he’s still young, still learning, but we’re excited about him.”
Graham Potter will also be missing his star midfield man Yves Bissouma who is currently away on international duty with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations.
On the plus side, defender Adam Webster is available for selection as he has recovered from calf and fatigue issues that saw him miss last Saturday's FA Cup win at the Hawthorns.
Ninth-placed Brighton sit four points and three places above the Eagles, having played one game fewer.
Potter has never tasted victory against Palace as Albion head coach, registering three draws – including earlier in the season when Neal Maupay’s late equaliser snatched a point at Selhurst Park – and losing twice.
Both defeats came in behind-closed-door affairs at the Amex Stadium and Potter hopes his record will be more positive following Friday’s sold-out encounter.
“I’m really looking forward to it, it’s exciting,” he said. “It will be a great Friday night at the Amex.
“Two good footballing teams, so I think it’s going to be a good game.
“Hopefully we can come out on top but looking forward to the atmosphere, especially. The one at Selhurst Park was good, I’m sure the one on Friday night will be the same.”
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira hopes Ebere Eze will return to Premier League action at the Amex as he continues his recovery from a serious Achilles injury in May.
With Cheikhou Kouyate, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha away at the African Cup of Nations, there are set to be further opportunities for Michael Olise, who impressed in the FA Cup at Millwall last week.
Patrick Vieira says only James McArthur and James Tomkins are out this weekend.
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