LuaLua still out but Greer and Stephens could return

Dale Stephens. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Dale Stephens. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

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Albion captain Gordon Greer and midfielder Dale Stephens will be assessed tomorrow ahead of Saturday’s Championship match at Reading but winger Kazenga LuaLua is still ruled out.

Greer has missed the last two games after limping off at Leeds with a jarred knee, while Stephens was ruled out of the draw against Preston on Saturday with a thigh injury.

LuaLua has been out for five matches with a groin injury and left-back Gaetan Bong has joined him on the sidelines after suffering a thigh injury against Preston, which will keep him out for 12 weeks.

Midfielder Beram Kayal is back from a one-game suspension for Saturday’s game and fellow midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey could also return to the squad after a loan spell at MK Dons.

On Bong’s injury, Brighton boss Chris Hughton said: “Firstly, we’re incredibly disappointed for him. He’s had a very good season for us, has been a ever-present, is a very strong character and personality and has added very much to what we have done so far this season.

“It’s really disappointing for him but, of course, it’s a big blow for us as well - particularly in that position, which is not the easiest to bring someone in.

“We thought long and hard about that position in the summer and were delighted to bring Gaetan in. He’s a strong character and I’m very sure he’ll come back as strong as ever.”

Liam Rosenior and Inigo Calderon are two options to replace Bong at left-back and Hughton said: “We have some good experience in the squad, with Liam Rosenior and Calderon that are both very capable of playing in that position.

“It is very much a specialist position but we need to find a way around it. We certainly have options available to us within the squad, so we’ll probably use this period of time leading up to the international break to see what options we’ve got.

“It is a position and a time when it’s not perhaps, talking about loan players, so easy to bring someone in but, at the moment, we’re very comfortable with what we’ve got.”

On potential returns to the squad for Greer and Stephens, Hughton said: “We’ll assess both Gordon and Dale tomorrow. Their training has been fairly sporadic and the work that they’ve been able to do but we’ll assess both of them tomorrow and both will, hopefully, have a chance.”

Hughton confirmed that LuaLua would still be out, though, and said: “Kazenga will be out and we’re reasonably comfortable with where he is at this moment but just feel he needs a bit more time.”

On the return from MK Dons of Forster-Caskey, Hughton said: “It was important because it was an ideal loan spell. We all know sometimes players go out on loan and only play some of the games.

“What we’ve got is a player who’s gone out to our level and played every game. He’s come back in really good shape and gives me another good option.

“He’s a player who you know that if you have to put him in and play him or take him off the bench, he’s very much up to the level.”

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