Republic of Ireland defender Shane Duffy has earned strong praise from Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter - and could be in line to start tonight's crucial clash with Manchester United.

Duffy's father Brian died in May aged 53. The towering centre-half paid tribute to his dad on social media, posting: "You weren't just my dad, you were my hero, my idol. I’ll miss ringing you after the match and you telling me how shite I was. Daddy, I love you and miss you. Look after us all now."

He has been a key part of the Irish defence over the last two qualification campaigns, with new manager Stephen Kenny recently describing Duffy, John Egan, Matt Doherty and Enda Stevens as being potentially one of the strongest international back lines in Europe.

However he's not always been Potter's first choice this term. Duffy was an unused sub in the win against Arsenal and was on the bench for the stalemate with Leicester.

He came on for Adam Webster in the draw against the Foxes. Webster pulled up with a hamstring problem and is a doubt for the clash with the Red Devils at the Amex Stadium.  

It means Duffy is primed to start for 15th-placed Brighton who are looking to pull further away from the drop zone.

"Shane has had a difficult time, so it was great for him to contribute last Tuesday," said Potter.

"He's been first class around the place. He's a great example for us. Nobody was happier than him after the Arsenal win. He'll always fight and compete for you.

"It's normal that every player wants to start the game, but if you look at the Arsenal win from our perspective the guys that finish the game are so important.

"They have to be ready - whether that's for three minutes or 30 minutes." 

Aaron Connolly has featured prominently in the Seagulls' last two games and should figure again as Brighton look to disrupt United's top-four chase.

Meanwhile Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says there has been improvement from his own young attacking trio Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood this season but he could bring in another forward to boost competition for places.

Rashford and Martial have contributed 19 goals each in all competitions while Greenwood has scored 12 but Solskjaer said the trio still have to earn their spot.

"You need competition for places at United. If you think you've got a divine right to be playing every game and are doing so well that we're not going to look for players to replace you, you're in the wrong place," Solskjaer told reporters.

"We've always got to look at improving, and if they don't... we might have to look somewhere else to get better because we have to be better."

Solskjaer said he showed faith in his young strikers after allowing Romelu Lukaku to join Inter Milan in August.

"It was time to allow our forwards to feel that confidence and feel that demand of playing and being demanded to play every game," Solskjaer added.

"In the end that's how you get to another level, a different level ... all three (Martial, Rashford and Greenwood) have had a good development this season but they can be so much better."

United are sixth in the Premier League with 49 points. 

 

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