Shropshire Star

Brighton hopeful of Evan Ferguson return for Aston Villa trip

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi is hopeful striker Evan Ferguson could be back to face Villa tomorrow.


The 18-year-old was substituted at half-time during last weekend’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth in his first match back following illness and then wasn’t involved as the Seagulls exited the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea on Wednesday.

Speaking after the match at Stamford Bridge, De Zerbi did not rule Ferguson, who has scored four goals this season, out of the trip to the Midlands.

He said: “I hope Evan can be available to play (at Villa). He’s still ill, but I think after one week he can be ready.”

De Zerbi also explained how he had withdrawn Barcelona loanee Ansu Fati at the midway point of Wednesday’s cup tie to keep him as fresh as possible for Villa. The 20-year-old has featured in all four matches since joining the Seagulls in the final days of the transfer window but has only completed 90 minutes once.

“Before the game I spoke with him,” said De Zerbi. “Because Ansu played 45 minutes on Sunday against Bournemouth.

“Now, when I decide the first XI I stay in the office with my staff and the medical staff, because Ansu in the last period (with Barcelona) didn’t play so many games. If I play him for 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes, it’s a big risk for him, for us.

“After the game I spoke with him and I told him he could play only 45 minutes to be in good condition for Saturday, because on Saturday we have another big game.”

Brighton would go level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City, at least for a few hours, with a win at Villa tomorrow.