Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele will make a belated Premier League debut at Aston Villa with the full backing of boss Graham Potter.
The 31-year-old, a regular in the Championship with Middlesbrough and Blackburn, joined Brighton in 2018 but has been restricted to cup appearances.
However, with number one Robert Sanchez suspended following his red card against Newcastle, Steele will finally get his chance in the top flight.
“I’m really confident,” said Potter. “Jason trains really well every day, supporting the team and training at a really high level.
“Whenever he’s come in he’s done well for us so he’s ready to play. He’s ready to fight for the team and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.
“It is his debut, but that’s what he’s here for. That’s the role that he plays. He wants to play, as all footballers do. But he’s accepted his role in the team in terms of a supporting role.
“And when you do that you know that if there’s a problem, an injury or a suspension, then he’s the next in line to play and he’s preparing himself all the time.
“I must say the improvement Jason has made since my time here has been incredible. As a player he’s been fantastic in terms of how he has stepped up his level.
“So in terms of that journey he’s been on – and a lot of that work goes unseen – he’s finally getting his reward and it’s up to us to help him enjoy the game.
“A clean sheet and three points would be nice, but I won’t ask for too much.”
Potter will be without Enock Mwepu at Villa Park due to a muscle strain but Aaron Connolly is fit following a heel injury.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.