Graham Potter hoping return of Danny Welbeck can inspire Brighton

Brighton and Hove Albion v West Ham United – Premier League – AMEX Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Hewitt)

Brighton boss Graham Potter hopes Danny Welbeck’s return after three months on the sidelines is the catalyst for a turnaround in results following the club’s 11-game winless run in the Premier League.

Welbeck scored the winner as Brighton moved into the Champions League places with a 2-1 victory over Leicester on September 19 but then suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury against Crystal Palace eight days later.

That necessitated an operation and while Welbeck has been convalescing, the Seagulls sit 13th at Christmas even if they have only lost three times since last prevailing in the top-flight against the Foxes three months ago.

But Welbeck is in contention to make a comeback in the late kick-off on Boxing Day against Brentford and Potter is excited about being able to utilise the former Manchester United, Arsenal and England striker again.

“Danny played against Leicester and then got injured against Crystal Palace,” Potter said. “It has coincided with the games that we haven’t won.

“Sometimes you need a player that can make the difference and Danny Welbeck is a player that can make the difference – it’s as simple as that.

“He doesn’t win a game of football on his own, I’m sure he will be the first to tell you that, but he has quality.

“He is one of our best players, he has fantastic experience and I think it is common knowledge that if Danny Welbeck is fit and enjoying his football he is a huge asset for us.”

Welbeck was first troubled by the issue in Brighton’s final home match of last season against Manchester City and a setback in pre-season led to him missing the start of the campaign before he broke down once more against Palace.

Welbeck has now had surgery on both hamstrings but Potter is confident the injury will not be a lingering concern on the 31-year-old’s comeback trail.

“It depends on the individual and it depends on the rehabilitation process and what strategies they have used,” Potter added.

“Danny has had surgery on his other hamstring previously and has never had a problem with that since. I think he feels the same with this one.

“Since he has been back, he has looked better than ever. He looks sharper and faster than ever. I don’t have any concerns and I think Danny is the same.

“He went through a period where it was reoccurring and I think surgery has fixed that for him. And because he had the other one done and never had a problem, I think that puts him in a better place psychologically.”

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