Brighton boss Graham Potter admits the unique talents of injured full-back Tariq Lamptey are irreplaceable for his struggling side.
England Under-21 international Lamptey has established himself as a key performer for Albion since making his Premier League debut in June.
The 20-year-old will remain sidelined for the weekend trip to West Ham due to a hamstring problem, having already missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.
Seagulls head coach Potter insists the issue is not serious but is eager to avoid aggravating it and has urged his team to adapt during the enforced absence.
“It’s just a slight problem with his hamstring so, the nature of how he plays, we have to be careful. We don’t want him to be away for a number of weeks,” Potter said.
“I’m expecting him to be back pretty soon, if he recovers well.
“Obviously there’s not another Tariq in terms of the qualities and attributes that he has.
“Our challenge is to find the solution collectively, we haven’t got a like-for-like replacement, for example.
“You have to adjust as a team and adjust for the qualities of the person coming in.
“The person that comes in will be different to Tariq and will have different attributes and different qualities and then it’s up to us to understand that and play to those.”
Lamptey’s storming performances on the right flank have provided an additional dynamic to Brighton’s attacking options.
After sustaining a problem in the stalemate at Fulham on December 16, the former Chelsea youngster was replaced by the more defensively minded Joel Veltman against the Blades.
However, after being on the receiving end of the lunging tackle which led to John Lundstram’s red card, Holland international Veltman was sacrificed at half-time in favour of forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
Brighton sit just two points above the relegation zone after their unconvincing form continued against the division’s bottom club.
The Seagulls have won only one of their previous 12 league fixtures and found the net just eight times in their last 10 outings.
Potter revealed he is considering recalling 26-year-old South Africa striker Percy Tau from his loan spell with Belgian club Anderlecht as he seeks greater firepower.
“I think it’s fair to say it’s something we are looking to do. But there are quite a few things to go through first,” Potter said.
“I think he brings some attributes that are interesting; he’s had a good experience in Belgium.
“He brings something a little bit different to what we have got and he’s a young guy that wants to take the next step in his career, so we want to try and help him do that.”
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