'We don’t know' - Major double injury blow for Brighton but duo set to return
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Albion top scorer Joao Pedro, who has scored eight goals in his last seven games in all competitions, has picked up a hamstring injury.
The news was confirmed by first team coach Andrea Maldera, who was standing in for Roberto De Zerbi at the pre-match press conference on Friday (February 9), whilst the manager underwent dental treatment.
"Joao Pedro unfortunately has an injury in the hamstring and he cannot play tomorrow," Maldera said.
"He had a scan a few days ago and he needs another one. We don’t know how many weeks away he will be out for, we don’t want to take a risk."
It has been reported by The Athletic that Jack Hinshelwood, 18, will also miss the game after sustaining a foot injury.
The versatile youngster, a midfielder by trade, has recently been deployed as right-back in the absence of Joel Veltman.
In one key boost to Albion, the Dutchman is back in the squad travelling to North London.
Veltman, 32, has missed the last eight matches after he went off with a knee injury at Arsenal in December.
Maldera said: "He's a big professional player, a big person, and we miss him. But he has been working very well with us and for sure he is in the squad.
"We are very happy, because he can play in different positions. Right-back is his best position, but he can play centre-back if we need him there. He has experience and his approach to the match is always high. We are very happy that he is with us."
Also returning to the squad is Kaoru Mitoma after Japan were knocked out of the Asia Cup. The 26-year-old suffered an ankle injury at Crystal Palace in December before he featured for his country a month later.
"Kaoru is available,” Maldera said. “But Roberto hasn’t decided [if he should start], he has asked us how he is.
"Kaoru has worked well but he has travelled a lot this week. I think we make the decision tonight [Friday] or tomorrow morning. He is in the squad for sure, but we don’t if he can start, we are not sure. But he is with us and is an important player."
When asked to elaborate on the hamstring injury suffered by Pedro – and how long he could be out for – the assistant coach was unable to give a definitive answer.
He said: “Probably he has a problem. We don’t know how many weeks but we don’t want to take a risk and sure he can’t play tomorrow.
"The other players are ready. They worked very well and we are ready to play.
"Ansu Fati is able to play, is ready, Evan Ferguson, Danny Welbeck, we have a lot of strikers.
"Adam Lallana, why not?
"We don’t want to take a risk and the other players are available. But I don’t know the first XI."