Brighton and Hove Albion are entering the 2018/19 Premier League campaign looking to avoid the dreaded second season syndrome. The club relied on a solid back line and the creativity of play maker Pascal Gross to keep them up last season, but if the first team aren’t doing the job this campaign, who could they call upon from their youth ranks?
Here are five of Brighton’s talented youngsters who could play a part this term.
1. Aaron Connolly
The Irishman was most prominent for Brighton’s U-23 side last season after making the step up from the U-18s, scoring an impressive 15-minute hat trick away at Wolves. He also scored in the Premier League 2 Division 2 Final which saw Brighton gain promotion.
Connolly has already represented Albion at senior level, making his debut in an EFL Cup tie at home to Barnet last season. While he may only be 18, Brighton may lack goals next season and Connolly could be an interesting spark off the bench if he’s given a chance.
2. George Cox
The full back played a key role in Brighton’s promotion to the top flight of U-23 football, appearing 22 times during the season. Solid defensively, Cox is also a threat going forward and contributed five assists and a goal from defence last season.
He may not get many chances next season, but if he does then we may see flashes of the player Cox could become.
3. Viktor Gyokeres
The Swedish forward showed great form upon joining the Seagulls in January of 2018, bagging five goals in seven appearances at U-23 level, as well as two in the play-offs. The Swede also has experience for his country at youth level, earning the accolade of top scorer at the 2017 UEFA European U-19 Championship with three goals.
There’s no guarantee he’ll make his first team breakthrough next season, but if he does he could be one to watch in an early Carabao Cup fixture.
4. James Tilley
Brighton’s youth teams appear to have an array of attacking talent – ironic given their lack of goals at first team level – and James Tilley is another of those who looks to be a hot prospect. The versatile forward can play almost anywhere along the front line and grabbed himself four goals at U-23 level last year.
Most impressive however is that Tilley has actually netted at senior level for Albion, in the same Carabao Cup fixture against Barnet that Aaron Connolly made his debut. Another that Brighton could call upon should they need goals next year.
5. Daniel Mandroiu
The midfielder is equally adept at playing in the middle of the park or being tasked as the main creator, as best evidenced by his three goals and three assists in an injury-plagued 2017/18 campaign for the U-23s.
Brighton’s senior team may rely on Pascal Gross to be their main creator, but an injury to the German could see Mandroiu given a chance.