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Graham Potter wary of set-piece threat of ‘best in the league’ James Ward-Prowse

Aston Villa v Southampton – Premier League – Villa Park
(Image credit: Michael Steele)

Brighton have been warned to beware the Premier League’s in-form dead-ball specialist as they prepare to go head-to-head with Southampton on Monday.

Seagulls manager Graham Potter is all too aware of the threat posed by Saints midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

The England international has scored three times in his last four games with superb free-kicks – and Potter knows the danger does not stop there.

Potter said: “If you have seen Southampton recently, you can see how dangerous he is from corners, free-kicks, direct free-kicks. He’s probably the best in the league at the moment.

“His quality is there, they have got some physical, big players who can attack the ball as well.

“Southampton have got that string to their bow and they’re very good in those situations. We have to be mindful of that, definitely.”

Brighton welcome Southampton to the Amex Stadium having taken four points from their last two league games, a 2-1 win at Aston Villa and a 1-1 fightback draw with champions Liverpool.

The visitors will arrive still smarting from a 3-2 home defeat by Manchester United in which they led 2-0 before substitute Edinson Cavani’s late double condemned them to a first defeat in eight outings.

That, coupled with the top-six berth they occupied after the last round of fixtures, is testament to the progress they have made under manager Ralph Hasenhuttl since his appointment in December 2018.

Potter said: “They’ve carried on the good work that they have done. In the last year, they have been really, really impressive, not just in terms of the points that they have been getting, but the performances.

“I said before we played them last time I have been really impressed with the job that Ralph has done there, because they faced a really tough moment last season and they managed to get through it. That shows you a lot about the quality there. All credit to them for that.

“I like them a lot. I like the way they play and what they try to do – it’s really clear and it’s a well-organised team with some really good players. We know it’s going to be a really tough game.”

Potter will have defender Tariq Lamptey available after a one-match ban, but striker Neal Maupay is a doubt with a hamstring problem and midfielder Adam Lallana is out after aggravating a groin injury against Liverpool.