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Graham Potter open to striker Andi Zeqiri making mark in Brighton first team

Graham Potter File Photo
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Graham Potter is excited by the potential of Switzerland Under-21 international Andi Zeqiri and “open-minded” about his chances of breaking into Brighton’s first team.

Rookie striker Zeqiri, signed from Swiss Super League club Lausanne-Sport earlier this month, has been in prolific form for his country’s under-21 side, scoring nine times in Euro 2021 qualifying.

While initially appearing as a purchase for the future, the 21-year-old is already training with Albion’s senior squad.

Seagulls boss Potter, who currently has limited attacking options, refused to rule out an imminent debut for Zeqiri, pointing to the rapid rise of full-back Tariq Lamptey as an example of a young player earning an opportunity earlier than expected.

“He’s in our group. He’s a young player but has had some good experience,” said Potter.

“I’m open-minded with it, a bit like I was with Tariq. You have to be.

“No one could have thought he (Lamptey) would have arrived and had the impact he has had.

“I’m open-minded with Andi and I’m looking forward to working with him, looking forward to getting to know with him more and more I think he’s an exciting player.”

After signing a four-year deal with the Seagulls on October 1, Zeqiri scored in successive games against Georgia and Liechtenstein on international duty.

He registered 22 times in 37 appearances in all competitions last season as Lausanne were promoted to the top tier of Swiss football as champions.

Potter was repeatedly linked with a new senior striker before the transfer deadline after allowing veteran Glenn Murray to join Watford.

Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly have been the only strikers at his disposal so far this season.

Albion travel to rivals Crystal Palace on Sunday, with Republic of Ireland international Connolly struggling with wrist and neck injuries, while winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh is unlikely to feature due to a thigh problem.

Speaking about Zeqiri, Potter added: “Like all players, it’s important we help him settle into the club, settle into the new country, the new league, work out his team-mates.

“But he is here with us, he is ambitious.”