(Reuters) – Brighton and Hove Albion’s close-season signing Florin Andone could be in line for a Premier League debut against Southampton after recovering from injury during the international break, manager Chris Hughton said on Thursday.
The Romanian forward arrived at Brighton from Deportivo La Coruna in May but is yet to feature for his new team due to a groin injury.
Hughton confirmed Andone will feature for the under-23 team on Friday, and could play a role at St Mary’s on Monday.
“We haven’t seen enough of him,” the manager told reporters.
“He’s been involved in pre-season so he’s not one that’s been injured throughout the pre-season period, but of course his time in the games has been limited.
“He’ll probably play 45 minutes tomorrow night (for the U23 team), possibly more and then we’ll make a decision (about the Southampton game).”
Andone is set to provide competition for in-form striker Glenn Murray, who was praised for his physical attributes by Southampton boss Mark Hughes earlier on Thursday.
Murray has scored three goals in four league matches this season, including one in a stunning 3-2 victory over Manchester United last month.
“He has been good, Glenn. It’s something that we’re used to, he goes about his business the right way,” Hughton added.
“What we have at the moment, with Andone playing (on Friday for the U23s), is real good competition. I think that type of competition is good for all our team, and particularly for our front players. Glenn has benefitted from that.”
Murray scored in both Brighton’s league meetings against Southampton last season, with each match ending 1-1.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)