Players progressing through the academy 'a big priority' for Brighton - Hughton

Max Sanders in action for Albion's under-23 team. Picture by Pete Norton/Getty Images
Max Sanders in action for Albion's under-23 team. Picture by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says it's a big priority for players to progress through the club's academy and make it into the first-team squad.

Horsham-based Max Sanders, aged 20, was on the bench for Albion's Premier League match with Liverpool last week, while Lewis Dunk came through Brighton's youth set-up and has now played more than 250 games for the club.

Hughton admits the club are keen to have more players progress through the academy system and said: "It's what we've been building towards here. From before I came to this club, we'd already built this wonderful facility (at Lancing), the owner had already invested heavily in our academy and what we have done is gone up to category one status.

"All of these things are with the aim of developing, making our catchment area a little bit bigger and trying to bring players through the system.

"We've had a lot of players train with us in the last year and a half but it's about how many can make it to the stage where they're on the bench, in the squad, training with us on a regular basis and ultimately getting into the team.

"It's a big priority here at the club."

Hughton added Sanders is a player the Seagulls rate highly. He captained the under-23 squad to promotion last season and Albion's manager said: "He was with us a fair bit last season but picked up an injury earlier in the season, which knocked him back a little bit.

"He's a midfield player we rate highly here. He's good on the ball and in possession, works hard and has had a really good progress through our academy and mostly through our 23s last season.

"He's one of a few players at under-23 level that really progressed in what was a very good season.

"Ultimately what we want to be to do is produce players here through our system and any one's we can progress through the system that work in our first team squad is a major plus for the club."

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