Graham Potter issues an 'almost unthinkable' warning to returning captain Lewis Dunk ahead of Leicester

Brighton and Hove Albion skipper Lewis Dunk is closing in on full fitness ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash at Leicester following his knee injury sustained at West Ham last month

Brighton captain Lewis Dunk should be available for selection against Leicester this Sunday having recovered from a knee injury
Brighton captain Lewis Dunk should be available for selection against Leicester this Sunday having recovered from a knee injury

It was almost unthinkable a few months ago that a fit Lewis Dunk - Albion's inspirational leader and best defender for the last few seasons - would be scrapping for his spot in Brighton's starting XI.

But that is now the situation the club captain faces as he returns to full fitness ahead of Sunday's trip to Leicester following a knee injury sustained last month in a 1-1 draw at West Ham.

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Since Dunk's injury, Graham Potter' s men have remained defensively sound and embarked on a good run of form that has seen them beat Brentford and Everton, progress in the FA Cup and also secure impressive home and away 1-1 draws against European champions Chelsea.

Dunk's expected return is clearly a welcome boost but the recent form of defenders Joel Veltman, Dan Burn and Adam Webster has been impressive and Dunk, 30, faces a battle to nail down his spot once more.

“[It will be] very hard and that’s what you want,” said head coach Potter. “You want competition and you want players pushing each other because that’s how they will get to the next level.

“If you just have 11, then everyone knows they are playing. Without competition you can stagnate. You need to push each other and raise the level.

“Both those guys (Adam Webster and Dan Burn) were fantastic (against Chelsea).

"They were defending big spaces, often in one-v-one situations and it is not just courage, it is an art to defend and they did it really well.”

The form of Webster has been so good since his return from a calf injury, it has prompted calls of an England call-up.

Potter added: “He has been fantastic and helps us to build our attacks. He was an important signing for us and an important player.”

Of a potential England call-up, Potter added: “He has to be playing in the Premier League regularly to be mentioned in those terms. But in terms of his attributes, I don’t see anybody else with the same level as Adam Webster has.

“If you want to build from the back and carry the ball and progress the game, he is fantastic and that is his quality. It is now a case of him enjoying his football with us, keep being on the pitch and being injury free and then anything is possible with him.”

Brighton are ninth in the Premier League and on Sunday they travel to Leicester, who on Wednesday night suffered a 3-2 loss to Spurs – despite being 2-1 up with just minutes to go.

Potter will also assess the fitness of Shane Duffy (ankle), Adam Lallana (hamstring) and Enock Mwepu (hamstring).