Brighton’s hopes of staying out of the relegation zone have been dealt a blow with the news that Tariq Lamptey will miss the rest of the season.
The Seagulls currently sit level on points with 18th-placed Fulham and are only above the dreaded drop zone on goal difference with just one top flight home win this campaign.
They have been without Lamptey in recent months due to injury, with Graham Potter revealing last week that the right-back would need to see a specialist.
And now, Potter has confirmed that the 20-year-old will need surgery on an ongoing hamstring problem.
“It’s incredibly disappointing for him as you can imagine,” the Brighton manager said.
“(We) tried things but in the end it (surgery) was the best option, so now we just have to focus on getting him fit and strong and ready for the start of next season.
“It’s a big blow for him, but we’ve sort of got used to him not being available because he hasn’t been available for a while. But still it’s disappointing for us of course.”
Potter admitted Brighton are frustrated with their results this season, but insisted the club will continue to fight in their remaining matches.
“I think to a certain extent it is (all about keeping the faith),” Potter said.
“I think you’ve got to deal with the results because clearly they’re important, you have to deal with them and then you have to look at the performance and how you can use the performance to turn those results into positive ones, that’s where the work is and that’s what we’ve got to do.
“Of course we’re frustrated because we’d like to have a better points tally but it is what it is. We know we’re in the situation we’re in, we know we have to fight for the points, we know we have to fight for the results and that’s what we’ll do.”
Potter assesses importance of Southampton clash
Brighton travel to Southampton on Sunday, and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side only ended their own sequence of nine games without a win in the Premier League by beating Sheffield United on Saturday and have just six more points than their south coast rivals.
“I don’t know if imperative is the word, of course to win would be fantastic,” the Seagulls boss said when asked about the importance of Sunday’s clash.
“But as I’ve said there’s 11 games to go, a lot of points to play for and a lot of football to play but every game is a massive opportunity to try and get something and we’ll go and do our best against a really good opponent.
“You can see the challenge of the Premier League that they’ve been on the run that they have yet they’ve got the points that they’ve got.
“I think at one point they were top of the league, so that’s the challenge that we’re in, but we’re looking forward to it. We’re in a good place and we need to fight.”