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Brighton's form since the restart leaves Connolly confident of survival

It’s Manchester United next for the Seagulls, who are gradually pulling clear of the drop zone.

Aaron Connolly was awarded a penalty after being fouled by Leicester City's James Justin on Tuesday night.
Aaron Connolly was awarded a penalty after being fouled by Leicester City's James Justin on Tuesday night.
Image: Andrew Boyers/NMC Pool/PA Wire

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION are increasingly confident of being a Premier League club again next season thanks to their form since the season restarted.

That’s the verdict of the club’s Irish striker Aaron Connolly, who has featured in both Brighton games that have followed the three-month break enforced by Covid-19.

Connolly came off the bench and provided a clever assist for Neal Maupay’s winning goal against Arsenal last Saturday, before starting in Tuesday night’s goalless draw at Leicester City.

Having been just two points clear of relegation when the season restarted, the Seagulls are now separated from the drop zone by a six-point cushion with seven games remaining.

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” the 20-year-old Galway native told the club’s official website. “That’s four big points and, come the end of the season, that could keep us in the division.

“That’s what we’ve been working towards during the lockdown period. Our hard work over the last few months has definitely shown out on the field.

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“We’re happy with the result [on Tuesday] and we probably could have gotten more had things gone a little differently on the night.”

Brighton might have recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since November if Maupay had converted an early penalty which Connolly won when he was fouled by James Justin. Instead, the Frenchman’s attempt was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Next on the agenda for Graham Potter’s side is the visit of Manchester United to the Amex Stadium next Tuesday evening.

“I think it was a penalty,” Connolly added. “Obviously me and James Justin got a little bit mixed up and he caught my foot.

“It happens, people miss penalties all the time. Neal scores those chances nine times out of ten and I’m sure he won’t let it get to him.

“We’ve got a point and it’s a big one for us. He [Neal] was the match winner at the weekend, he missed the penalty [on Tuesday], but we know he will be back on it next Tuesday against Manchester United, and we’re looking forward to that game now.”

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Paul Dollery

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